Celtics, Knicks, Spike Lee and Me

Spike Lee a giant in his industry has used my photo “The Soiling Of Old Glory” in at least two of his movies, one of them being Malcolm X and I have an autographed hat from him. A couple of weeks ago I got an email from my website which asked for my phone number as the telephone number on my website was incorrect. The only catch to me from this email was it said the number that is on the site when dialed got them to a packing company.

My radar went up and I thought it was some kind of sexual reference. I sent a reply asking “who are you?” Their reply said Spike Lee wants to talk to you. Of course I sent the correct number back immediately I would have run to New York if needed.

I was outside Ted’s Mobil in Methuen, Massachusetts doing the 390 million plus Megamillions story for my station. I thought I might not be buying the winning ticket but I will be talking with Spike Lee almost as good.

I was thinking when he called I would get to know his personal phone number from caller ID but of course all it said was incoming. The voice on the other end introduced himself as Spike Lee and I immediately said “before we talk about business I want to ask you about the Celtics/Knicks game from last month?”

I ask him if he ever saw the video of the game and his answer was “you mean the night we got robbed?” I said you did not get robbed and he told me “Paul Pierce’s shot was made with .7 seconds left and the Knicks had .4 seconds left. I insisted they did not get robbed, they lost, then told him about the announces talking about him and his love of the Knicks but sort of poking fun at him.

He said “you mean Tommy Heinsohn or Cedric Maxwell?  I said no it was a national game and they were not the announcers and he immediately said “it must be Van Gundy and company?”  I told him I was not sure but they were all over the fact that his old friend who now played for the Celtics whose name I had to ask him by asking him who it was that went from the Knicks to the Celtics.  He answered “Nate Robinson” and he was having a great night against the Knicks which I think the announcers were enjoying as the cameras played on Spike Lee. My last remark was “you got more face time than Jack Nicholson gets at Lakers’ games.”

What a thrill I got to talk about basketball with Spike Lee and even better the Celtics won that night. Of course I have been at a couple of Celtics’ winning championship games. The best one was in 1962 when Frank Selvy of the Lakers missed an 8 footer with the score tied at 100 and seconds ticking down, Bill Russell pulled down the rebound, went to his knees and held on till regulation time ended.

In that game the Lakers’ great Elgin Baylor fouled out in overtime. The Celtics starters ran over to the visiting bench to shake Baylor’s hand after he sat down and then the Celtics won the championship in the overtime.

I was at the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 1970 when they beat St. Louis at Boston Garden sitting in my season ticket seats section 73 row C seat 3 or 4. I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Garden including when he played with the Oshawa Generals as they would play a game or two every year in Boston. I gave up my seats after Orr left for the Chicago Blackhawks.

When the Bruins beat the Rangers for the Stanley Cup in 1972 I was at Logan Airport at the gate when the Bruins returned with the Cup in hand.  Of course I messed the caption for the photo up by misidentifying the woman getting off the plane as Bobby Orr’s girlfriend Peggy who eventually became his wife.  The young woman in the photo was one of the assistants in the Bruins office.  I think I was more upset than the editors when they made the correction.

In the 1976 playoffs the Celtics beat Phoenix in the 5th game but it took three overtimes and the last overtime and the victory came at the end of the court where I was sitting.  Celtics went on to win the Championship in seven games.

In 1975 I ran out onto the field as a still cameraman covering the game for the Herald American after Carleton Fisk hit his famous 12 inning 6th game of the World Series winning home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.  Fisk was waving it fair as he watched it going out of the park as he rounded first base.

In 1986 I was on the field for the Red Sox victory that sent them to the World Series against the Mets and outside Fenway Park after they lost the championship to the Mets in part due to Bill Buckner’s error when they came back home.  It was 3: am or so and there was a fan yelling to Bob Stanley “you are the best!”

I sat in Red Auerbach’s box at a home game once with my good friend Alan Gorin as the paper’s sports editor Sam Cohen who was always there with Red saw us and invited us into two empty seats.  No Red did not engage in a conversation with me other than saying hello.

And now I got to talk with Spike Lee, not bad!!!

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