Old school Boston Celtics fans cherish the historical impact of the franchise on the NBA. I’m included in that. I admittedly covet last fragments of what once was a league all to their own.
From 1957 through 1969, the Boston Celtics amassed an incredible 11 championships in 13 years, including 8 consecutively The Boston Celtics won their last title under the Red Auerbach, original ‘Celtics way’ was 1986. Red’s Celtics were so good, by 1986, they’d won 16 of the /NBA’s 40 and had come in runner up, an additional 4 times by 1986.
That’s dominance. Red never let his players, city, or opponents forget it either.
No one, no team nor player in league history suffered more at the hands of Red Auerbach and the Boston Celtics than the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers and their leader, Jerry West.
Elgin Baylor, the league’s first high flyer, and Jerry West faced the Bill Russell/Red Celtics in 1959, 62, 63, 65, 66, 68, and 1969. West also participated in the 1984, 85, 87 Finals vs the Celtics as Dr Jerry Buss right hand man and architect of Showtime basketball in LA.
Of those Finals West played in (1959-1969), he lost every single time. When previous team owner Jack Kent Cook slammed his hands down on the hardwood at the Fabulous Forum, and traded for Wilt Chamberlain, their was absolutely no way the Lakers could lose. The old, injured, run down and exposed Celtics would never be able to handle West, Baylor and CHAMBERLAIN! It was a mountain that no ones saw Russell climbing. It was apparent heading into their final showdown in 1968-69, that the Celtics Dynasty, was finally, officially going to come to an end and it would be at the hands of the Association’s first super team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Right?
The Los Angeles Lakers have a storied past that runs parallel to their east coast rival and championship counterpart.
The Boston Celtics consistently beat the Lakers every season. That theme certainly dominated the 1960’s as the Celtics walked away from decade losing the title just one seasons. Eight consecutive times Red Auerbach and Bill Russell won the champions of the world. Nine of those NBA Finals losses came at the hands of Jerry West.
“Mr. Clutch” has never forgotten it either.
Jerry West is a basketball institution that is paid tribute to every day in a wide variety of ways, yet spoken about for his contributions and accomplishments as a player far too little. West’s crowning achievements weren’t personal accolades, god knows he had plenty of them, they were achievements in transcendent talent through arguably the most fundamentally transformative era of basketball.
Michael Cooper is a former Los Angeles Lakers defensive iron man, 5 time champion, who’s career bookmarked the genesis and demise of Showtime basketball in L.A. Today, welcomes a variety of NBA legends on his Showtime Podcast and for this CLNS’ Lakers Anthology, “Coop” visited with Jerry West for the first of four meetings, providing context and eye witness to the growth, demise and rebirth of both the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers dominance.
Here’s part 1:
Jerry West – Part 2