In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and maybe Monday’s blowout loss), Graham and I compiled a list of our five most-hated Celtics of all-time. It just seemed like a perfect way to commemorate the day.
Honorable mention: Glen Davis, Tiny Archibald (his wrongful inclusion on the NBA’s 50 Greatest list helped keep Joe Dumars off), Ricky Davis, Bill Walton, Gary Payton
5. Larry Bird
He’d always start a bunch of conflict, then step out of the way. At least the Pistons’ star, Isiah Thomas, would handle his own business sometimes instead of deferring to Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn.
But, honestly, I hate how good he was. His steal and pass to Dennis Johnson still gives me nightmares. And I didn’t see it until it hit ESPN Classic.
4. Kevin McHale
McHale was just as dirty as the Bad Boys. But his reputation was a lot more pristine. He was Detroit’s Rick Mahorn – but with more talent, and that just made him more infuriating.
His reputation in Detroit shot up when he told Bill Laimbeer to beat the Lakers after the Pistons beat the Celtics in 1988. Otherwise, he’d be a lot higher on this list.
3. Danny Ainge
This about sums it up. From a 1987 Boston Globe article:
Danny Ainge was the first of the Boston Celtics players to start dancing. There were 4 seconds left on the digital clock atop the blast-furnace old arena and he came close to Dennis Rodman of the Detroit Pistons and he started . . . started . . . what?
He did not seem to know the exact steps to do.
"Is this how you do it?" he seemed to ask the Pistons’ rookie as the time ran down on the Celtics’ 117-114 win in this final, ferocious seventh game at the Garden to capture the NBA Eastern championship and send the world champions into the finals this week against the Los Angeles Lakers. "One finger in the air. Isn’t that it? Right index finger. How about the feet? Is this the right way to do the feet?"
Danny Ainge danced and then Dennis Johnson danced and Kevin McHale danced and half the people in the packed, hot building danced. No one really knew how to dance the way Dennis Rodman had danced in those three Pistons wins in Pontiac, Mich., but somehow that did not matter. The dancers all looked out-of-step, out-of-synch lovely.
"That dance was something I planned to do from the beginning of this series," Danny Ainge said. "That was the Dennis Rodman dance. It was geared right for him."
2. Robert Parish
He played four more seasons after Sports Illustrated called him “old.” Just retire already.
This is exactly why I hate him. Every time I see this play, I get enraged. He didn’t even get called for a technical foul.
Worse, it wasn’t a personal foul, either.
(The NBA hated Bill Laimbeer.)
We really wanted to use this picture, but the watermark prevented us. Just check it out. It’s worth it.
1. Antoine Walker
Nom nom nom nom nom
The reason he’s so high is probably a generational difference, but I just can’t stand the sight of his face.
One of my favorite moments at The Palace came I believe during the 2002 playoffs. The scene on a scoreboard video: a fat guy in a Pistons shirt was eating a giant pizza in what happened to be the Celtics locker room. He got sauce all over himself and needed something to wipe it. Well, right next to him happened to be an Antoine Walker jersey. He grabbed it and sauced it up. The Palace crowd cracked up.
The best part: the entire Celtics bench was watching and losing it, too.
Everyone hated that guy.