1969 NBA Finals: Lakers/Celtics

26 11 2010

I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on the Lakers-Celtics Finals from last June. That led me to search YouTube for the game, where I also found five videos detailing the final minutes of the ’69 Lakers-Celtics series. I get such a kick out of watching older NBA ball.

First of all, this series featured Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in the twilight of their careers, plus a nearly-in-his-prime John Havlicek. The star power is there, but look at all the differences between the NBA then compared to now.

There’s no three-point line. The shorts are, well, short — really short. West has his left thigh wrapped in a humungous bandage. There’s no running graphic of the game’s score and time. A graphic showing the players in foul trouble didn’t bother to separate them by team. Even the TV camera is zoomed in compared to how it is now, where you can see most of the half court; here, you basically only see the guy with the ball and his immediate surroundings. You can see the differences for yourself in the following videos. (Unfortunately these vids don’t play back when embedded. You have to click the ‘Play’ button then click on the provided link to watch the vids on YouTube’s site):

Old NBA players were TOUGH. Check out Wilt hobbling around on one leg in the next video. He hurt his right knee, and after a play a Lakers trainer came out to spray something on it. The announcer said the trainer was spraying freon, which is a chemical commonly found in refrigerators and A/C units. And this trainer was using it to “ice” Wilt’s knee so that it wouldn’t swell. Wilt stayed in the game for a couple more possessions, too. Today you see guys like Vince Carter who sit out games with an overgrown toenail. (An exaggeration but hopefully you catch my drift.)



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