Globe Pequot / Lyons Press
978-0-7627-7356-5 • Paperback • February 2011 • $14.95 • (£11.99)
Lew Freedman grew up in Boston and began attending Celtics games in 1960. Those teams and those players made him into a lifelong basketball fan (and writer). The Celtics were his favorite team in any sport. He stayed up late at night on school days listening to announcer Johnny Most on the radio. An uncle took him to NBA doubleheaders (back when the league needed them as a marketing tool). Best of all, he thought, the Celtics won the championship every year. If you were a young fan, how could you not be thrilled by that? In a different time, when the league was smaller and the playoffs shorter, the Celtics guaranteed playoff action every year when his birthday rolled around each April. Every year he asked his parents for Celtics playoff tickets for his birthday present and that's what he got.
In the early 1960s, Freedman met several of the Celtics stars at public appearances made for what now would not even be considered tip money. His best friend's father owned a boys clothing store and brought in players like Havlicek, Tom Sanders, Sam Jones and K.C. Jones to sign autographs on Saturday afternoons. Because Freedman was the youngest son's friend, he got to hang out with the players in the back room.
Freedman also attended Jim Loscutoff's basketball camp for a few years and his father was later friendly with Tom Heinsohn. During the course of a sportswriting career he has had the opportunity to meet and talk with several of the Celtics. In the last few years alone he has chatted with Sam Jones, Bill Russell, and only recently Bob Cousy. When he was about twelve years old, Freedman wrote to Cousy and he sent an autographed picture. Sam Jones once ticked off Chamberlain and the big man came after him. Jones famously picked up a stool to fend him off like a lion tamer. Freedman was in the Garden to see it. One of the most dramatic off-floor moments in Celtics history was Bob Cousy Day at the Garden when he was retiring. Cousy cried, a fan yelled from the balcony, "We love you Cooz," and fans provided a standing ovation. Freedman was present and still owns the program.
The behind-the-scenes story of the glory years of
one of professional basketball's best and most beloved teams