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NBA FINALS: LAKERS VS. CELTICS

The rivalry: In their words

The Magic Man and Larry Legend look back on their classic matchups and ahead to an anticipated series

June 05, 2008

Larry Bird

Celtics vs. Lakers

Boston has been blessed with a lot of great players, a lot of great Hall of Famers over the years. I can tell you every player that went through there that made the Hall of Fame, we all still look at Bill Russell. He's always going to be No. 1 there. Everybody else just falls in line.

When we got to '87, the Lakers had a better team than we did. They proved that. McHale cracked his ankle early in the playoffs. Parish had all kinds of ankle problems. We weren't up to par.

I was very aware of the history between Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. The funny thing now is Luke Walton. Bill played for us in '86, Luke was nothing but a die-hard Celtics fan, now he's playing for the Lakers. Paul Pierce grew up in L.A. rooting for the Lakers, and he's with the Celtics. It's going to be very interesting.

I had a lot of friends of mine who were big Magic fans, thought he was the type of player you'd never be able to see again. I had so much respect for him, how he handled himself, how his teams played. He was the man with the ball. He was making the decisions. It all started in '84, and it's carried on now to 24 years later.

One thing I see in this series that could hurt the Celtics is Kobe Bryant has been there before; he's won three championships. He'll be a steadying force for the rest of the players.

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