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"We were the lucky ones to be on his team" — Bill Walton credited one teammate for being the reason the 80s Celtics were great

For Bill Walton, neither Larry Bird nor Cedric Maxwell were the reason the 80s Celtics being a dynasty.
Boston Celtics legend Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Boston is a sport-loving town, and Bostonians have showered the Boston Celtics with love since their first NBA game. Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, and John Havlicek were among the players who made the C’s a storied franchise. But some of us are convinced that the Celtics apexed in the era of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Cedric Maxwell.

While it could be true, Celtics legend Bill Walton believed none of those mentioned above was the reason why the 80s Celtics made their mark in the history of the sport.

It’s The Chief

Walton arrived in Boston in the twilight years of his NBA career. It was 1985, and at the time, the Celtics had already copped two championships since 1980. Bird (‘84) and Maxwell (‘81) earned the NBA Finals MVP award in that two respective championship runs.

Back in ’85, Larry Legend was at his peak, and so was the Celtics’ historic rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers. Eager to avenge his team’s championship loss last season, Bird took off and spearheaded Boston to another emphatic NBA title in 1986. In the process, he was hailed Finals MVP for the second time.

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Undeniably, Bird was given the most props in those championship runs. But for Walton, the Celtics managed to pull it all off because of Robert Parish. And the truth is, it wasn’t Parish who was lucky to have won those titles with them. Instead, it was the other way around.

Only 3 big men have won more championships — Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and George Mikan,” Walton wrote in a 2003 ESPN piece. “Some will say that Robert was lucky; that he played on great teams with unbelievable talent. The reality is that we were the lucky ones to be on his team.

It was Parish, It is Parish, and it will always be Parish

It has been almost two decades since Walton heaped praise on Parish in his article. But apparently, not one bit has changed in his take on the 80s Celtics’ history. As “Red Baron” looked back at it in the NBA 75 team ceremony, he again declared it was “The Chief” that made it all possible.

Chief was the foundation of the team,” Walton explained in an NBA 75 Stories clip honoring Parish. “It wouldn’t have worked. It wouldn’t have happened without Chief because he just anchored that middle, and he was just a towering pillar of strength and just so focused, so disciplined, and he didn’t want any attention. He didn’t want any of the nonsense that surrounds the greatness of a wonderful basketball team. He wanted to do his job, and he just wanted to be there with the guys.

Some may find Walton’s comments a bit bold and refutable, but we also can’t deny that Parish played a massive role in the success of the 80s Celtics.

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