Celtics Talk: Dan Shaughnessy on the best of the Larry Bird era


With Larry Bird leading the way, the 1980s were the golden era of Boston Celtics basketball.

Dan Shaughnessy got the chance to take it all in as a writer for The Boston Globe. In addition to watching Celtics greats like Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale compete on a daily basis, Shaughnessy got to experience plenty of unforgettable moments behind the scenes. All are documented in his new book, "Wish it Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics."

On a brand new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Shaughnessy joined Chris Forsberg to look back on some of his favorite memories of Bird and the 1980s Celtics.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Dan Shaughnessy on life with the Larry Bird Celtics | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I remember that was all legit, that shooting [Larry Bird] would do in the afternoon in the old Garden by himself," Shaughnessy recalled. "His equipment guy Joe Qatato who he took to Indy with him. ... He'd be shooting in the dark out there with Joe Q, a little spotlight on the area where they were. He always wanted to know what we were up to. He kind of noticed everyone else's business. He'd come over and say, 'Scoop, what are you working on?' I'd say, 'Well, actually, I'm working on your free-throw streak.' ...

"Calvin Murphy had the then-record, it was 88 in a row. Larry was getting in the 60s. ... I said, 'I'm writing about your stupid free-throw streak for the early edition so don't miss tonight and make me look bad.' He says, 'Oh, don't worry about that, Scoop.' Sure enough in the first half he gets fouled and he's down at our end. He makes the first one, then he looks and winks at me before making the second one."


Bird won three straight 3-point contests from 1986-88. It's safe to say the legendary Celtic was pretty confident in his shooting ability from beyond the arc.

"We were in New York and he was starting to bank his 3s after winning all the 3-point contests because he was rubbing it in," Shaughnessy said. "He was banking his 3s in warmups at Madison Square Garden -- and the trainer was Mike Saunders he was there forever -- and he said, 'You're not gonna do that in a game.' Larry says, 'If you give me five bucks I will.'

"So, late in the game they were killing the Knicks, and he banks a 3, and he runs by the Knicks bench with his greedy palm extended. This was how he was, how they were."

Shaughnessy had many more stories where that came from in the latest Celtics Talk Podcast and in his book, "Wish it Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics."

Also in the new episode: How has access to NBA players changed in recent years? What does Shaughnessy think about this 2021-22 Celtics? And what were the "newspaper wars" like in the '80s?

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.