“There’s the steal by Bird. Underneath to DJ. He lays it in.”
We all know the play. “The Steal” is one of the greatest plays in NBA history. It’s a play we’ve all seen a million times. I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it, it never gets old. It’s still amazing. The Celtics were going to lose game 5 to the young, talented and may I add, hated, Detriot Pistons. The Pistons were going to win and give themselves a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference Finals at home in game 6. Ahh…but Larry Bird had other ideas. And so did DJ.
Bird gets all of the credit for “The Steal”, but its DJ that finishes the play. Click on the link below and watch the play for yourself, except this time watch DJ’s cut to the lane. Pure instinct.
The instant Bird made the steal, DJ was on the move and he made a very difficult layup. “He lays it in.” Damn right he did.
Bird has said the only player he completely trusted on the court was Dennis Johnson. Now DJ will be joining other members of the original Big Three in the Basketball Hall of Fame. DJ deserves it. It feels right. Can’t have Bird, Mchale and Parish in the Hall without DJ. He was one of the greatest defensive point guards of his era. He won three NBA championships, two with Boston and one with Seattle. He was the 1979 NBA Finals MVP. DJ’s stats don’t jump off the page, but sometimes one can’t measure a player purely by stats. How can one measure a player’s heart and competitiveness? DJ raised his game and others around him when it mattered the most.
As a kid, DJ was one of my favorite players. I loved the way he played the point guard position. He always seemed to make the big defensive play or make a big shot when the Celtics needed it the most. I loved him because my hero, Larry Bird, loved him. He seemed like a nice guy. I mean afterall the guy had freckles on his face, have to be a good guy if you have freckles on your face. I loved the way he shot foul shots. He always dribbled the ball very low and then would wipe is brow with an arm band about 37 times before he took the foul shot. Of course, I shot foul shots the same way as DJ, just like every other kid growing up in the Boston area.
Unfortunately, DJ died of a heart attack in 2007. His induction into the Hall is a great way to honor his memory. The ceremony will be held in August and I’m sure DJ will be there in spirit. DJ…thank you for “The Steal”. Thank you for beating Bill Laimbeer and the Detroit Pistons. Thank you for wearing the Celtic jersey with pride. Thank you DJ for all the great memories.
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Written by johnw