Friday, June 12, 2009

You've Got to Be Kidding Me.

John Hollinger recently put together a points-based system ranking all 30 NBA franchises to determine who is the best all-time. You'd think that the Celtics, regardless of bias, would be #1, considering their unprecedented 17 NBA Championships. But no. He picks the Los Angeles Lakers. The following is a throw down in Hollinger's grill as to why he's a moron...

First of all, I don't care how many points you give for the various categories. The best franchise is the one that has won the most championships--every team's goal, every year, no matter what. Forget about regular season wins, intangibles, and so on. The Celtics clearly win as the best franchise, but number of banners raised is not the only reason why Hollinger's rankings are flawed.

As you can see, even the caption to the picture of the Lakers on that website is wrong. Yes, they had a great collection of stars, but the Celtics had more, hands down. In fact, they have the most members in the NBA Hall of Fame: 33. Sure, the Lakers had Wilt, Shaq, Baylor, West, Magic, and Kareem. But can they honestly contend with the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, JoJo White, Tommy Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton, and now Paul Pierce, Ray Ray, and KG? This argument that "the Lakers are so far out in front of everybody else it's not even funny" in terms of superstars is ABSURD! You cannot argue that 33 Hall of Famers has no weight. That's the benchmark by which great players are assessed!!

Hollinger does grant that the Lakers couldn't hold a candle to the Celtics, especially during the 1960s, but quickly dismisses this major point of contention by saying that Magic's teams of the 1980s took 2 of 3 from the C's and won back to back titles for "the first time in nearly two decades." Woopee-doo. Oh, wait...there's this one team that won eight championships in a row, something that is unprecedented in ANY major sport in history....who was that again? Oh yeah, that was the CELTICS. They also won 11 out of 13 years, so...yeah that's pretty good too, wouldn't you say Johnny boy?

Moving on. Last second excitement? I can think of one, which he mentions, and it wasn't historically as clutch as most plays I can think of. So Kobe throws up an alley-oop to Shaq to "cement" a win vs. the Kings? I'm sorry, but cementing a win is unimpressive. If that alley-oop was to WIN the game, then you'd be on to something. For the Celtics, even the broadcasts of plays have become famous! "Havlicek stole the ball!!" and later, "Aaaaaaaand now there's a steal by Bird! Underneath to DJ and he lays it up and in!" Or how about Don Nelson's shot hitting the back of the rim, going straight up into the air 6 feet, and going in for the win vs. the...Lakers. Completely ridiculous.

Another reason why the Celtics are the best is that they've had 4 NBA MVPs. Although that's deceiving. Cousy won once, Russell won it 5 times, Cowens won it once (along with a ROY award), and Bird won it 3 times (back to back to back). The Lakers total? Only 8.

And just to put down the argument that Phil Jackson is better/will be better than Red Auerbach. Screw you. Clearly anyone who argues this has no perspective of the game. Sure, Phil has more wins and is tied with the most titles, but Red coached at a time when the coach was the scout, manager, and drafted people. All Phil Jackson does is say things like, "It's all about psychology" or some bullshit and then gives it to Kobe or MJ. Red orchestrated draft picks such as Larry Bird a year before he was eligible just because he knew his potential. Len Bias was almost universally perceived to be the Second Coming. His drafting of Bill Russell came when he had the third pick: he negotiated/acted as though he wasn't interested to deter the 1 and 2 teams from picking him. And let's not disregard his psychological edge: the cigar. He would light up when he knew the victory was in hand, getting into the heads of the opposing coach and players, working almost as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I argue that it is much harder to win 8 in a row and 11 out of 13 titles with one core set of players than it is bouncing around and playing with two great superstars with massive egos. The players Red dealt with certainly had egos, but they were not take-it-up-the-court-and-shoot-every-time offensively-minded players. They each brought a piece of the pie: Russell brought defense, Cooz brought passing and handles, Heinsohn brought a deadly outside shot, Havlicek could score from anywhere. No one ego was greater than the team ego and that is the difference between these two coaches. Oh, not to mention that Red retired arguably at his prime, almost suddenly. He could have gone on to coach the Havlicek-led teams of the 1970s and had another two rings on his fingers. The fact that he was such an integral part of the draft process in the 1980s should call for the addition of the 1981, '84, and '86 titles to his belt, in my opinion.

Once again, what it comes down to--what every player, coach, manager, president on the team wants--is championships. The Celtics have the most, are the most successful franchise, and are therefore, the best franchise of all-time. I don't care if the Lakers have 10,000 regular season wins. Or if they have 10,000 playoff game wins. All that matters in the end is the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Celtics 17-Lakers 15. End of story.



  2. Typical Lakers fan response. Very clever.

  3. Give me a break your franchise has been a joke since bird. Paul Pierce is a joke who even when he was scoring 30 points a game still basically lost 70% of the time. Enjoy your one year you'll be remembering it for sometime. Lakers have stayed competitive, and has always been competetive no matter what. So screw your championships with 5 hof on one team that was a different league, get your ass out of the past

  4. Alright, let's not get testy here. I don't mind criticism, but getting all angry and swearing at me just isn't cool.

    That said, I agree that the Celtics have had several unsuccessful seasons since the early 1990s. However, it was mostly bad luck. Len Bias and Reggie Lewis' deaths, as well as the whole 1997 draft debacle certainly set us back, you can't question that. As for Pierce, I'm sure you're referring to the 2006-07 season, in which we lost 18 in a row. Let me remind you that Pierce was plagued with elbow problems, so he hardly played at all that season. His other seasons with the Celtics were undoubtedly more successful, especially the 2002 team that held a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    And thank you, I have been enjoying our 2008 Championship; I hope I do remember it for "some time."

    The point of this piece was to show that the Celtics are the best franchise. What's the goal of every franchise, team, player, coach, trainer, etc? That would be to win a championship. The Celtics have the most, have been the most successful, and, therefore, are the best franchise. Since this article was (mostly) about the past, I only think it's appropriate that past teams are cited, don't you think?

  5. Let's also not forget that the Lakers RELOCATED. They didn't even start out as LA's team. They just sold old to a west coast wanna-be city who doesn't even have a football team. Gimme a break.

  6. So basically what you're saying is that the two titles you have over the Lakers is that much more prestigious a team than one that makes it to the finals basically 1/2 of the entire NBA's history, making the playoffs I believe 90% of the time? I will give the Celtics credit for one of the most unbelievable runs in the 60's. But the league then is a completely different league now. A franchise has to be able to change with the times. The Celtics, were mired in disarray in the 90's all the way to 2008 while the Lakers while not winning championships were still revelant. I think you would have to agree that the Lakers have been that much more of a consistent entity than the Celtics.

    Len Bias/Reggie Lewis- RIP. Very tragic, but it's still a guessing game as to whether that talent and potential would actually translate into championships. Look at the galvanizing potential of the Bulls after the 98 breakup. All that talent, yet look where it got them. Besides, lakers also lost Magic due to his "extracurricular activies".

    REd Auerbach/Phil Jackson- this is not a debate on who's a better jack of all trades. It's who's the best coach. I can't pick as it's a tossup for me. But you use your own argument against yourself. If it's all about championships as you claim, how can you say definitely say that Auerbach is better? Didn't Phil just one-up your guy?

    Lastly, success is much more than just the number of championships. It's also about history, reputation, income generated for team, local economy, the association, staying power, longevity of tenure (players, front-office, coach, owner), and although I hate this aspect of the Lakers, the papparazzi angle. Lakers create the most discussion, good or bad, of any nba franchise. It gets non die-hard fans talking about the NBA, which is zero-cost marketing.

  7. Actually, yes, two more titles makes the Celtics a better franchise because that is the ultimate goal. Sure, the Lakers get to the playoffs a lot, but when it matters, the Celtics absolutely own them in the Finals (9-2). And that is not in just one period of the NBA, but across almost all eras.

    The main reason why the C's were in "disarray" in the 1990s was precisely because of Len Bias' death. The team had developed so that Bias would be the centerpiece. Red Auerbach's drafting sensibilities cannot be denied here. You have to trust his opinion that Bias would carry the team from the Larry Bird era to the modern era, taking into account the monumental success he had in draft prospects throughout his tenure with the team. Just think, if the Celtics had missed Bill Russell with the second pick in the draft way back when, would the team had won all those championships? Better yet, if the team HAD drafted him, but he tragically died before ever playing a game, how would the team have turned out? Well, they would most certainly have been preparing for him playing a great deal and, therefore, carved out a large space for him to play. Suddenly, he's gone and either Tom Heinsohn (who was listed as a PF-C then, but most certainly would merely be a SF now) would have to be moved to center or some dude named Gene Conley would be our starting center. Yeah, things would have been VASTLY different. Now, I'm definitely not comparing Bias to Russell, but attempting to demonstrate the incredible and long-lasting problems that can occur when something so unexpected can happen to a guy who has been deemed a franchise player.

    And we come to the coach vs. coach predicament. I knew this argument would be coming. Championships matter for sure when it comes to coaching, but they are much more important for a team as a whole. Red not only coached his teams wonderfully, but HE put them together. He scouted, drafted, managed, etc. He was the mastermind behind putting those great teams together, not only in the 1960s, but throughout his time with the team as president (Larry Bird drafted a year before eligibility was a great gem). Phil Jackson simply would not and could not do the same. Now, I'm not denying his coaching ability. Winning 10 rings doesn't happen by accident...although, there was a certain amount of luck that he fell into teams that already had two of the most prolific scorers yet seen. People are talking about how Phil should retire now that he's on top. Well, Red retired shortly after winning EIGHT in a row!! He was only 48, too! One can only wonder where he'd be if he'd coached another 15 years, as Phil has done. Also, I think it's safe to say that Red left coaching because there was nothing left for him to do. He'd reached the pinnacle and most likely was becoming bored with winning, meaning there was no real competition coaching-wise. Do you really think that Red would have retired had he and Phil coached in the same time period? Sure, it's just projection, but Red was an EXTREMELY competitive figure, so it's hard to imagine him leaving with Phil at 10 and he at 9 (and in his prime, no less).

  8. Lastly, agreed. Success in a franchise is more than number of rings. But not "much more," as you say. It is the determining factor. It is that which every player, team, coach, manager, president all want. That is their collective goal and, therefore, it carries the most weight by far. But okay, let's look at your other factors. History. Anyone who's a fan of the NBA and its history knows that the Celtics have the most history of any team. Celtics and tradition go hand-in-hand. From the historic old Boston Garden, to the mystique of the banners above the parquet, to Red's cigars, to the raspy radio calls of Johnny Most, to the sportsmanship, the Celtics exude history. Oh, and 33 Hall of Famers doesn't hurt either.

    Reputation. Chalk this one up to the Celtics, too. They have always been about the team. As I've said before, the individual egos (and there have been many large ones) have never been bigger than the team ego. Bill Russell to Larry Bird to the Big Three, who have sacrificed their stats for the success of the team. The Celtics are the very essence of a team. The Lakers, on the other hand (with a few exceptions, of course), seem more about individual priorities than the team as a whole. Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe, for a couple big time examples, are constantly surrounded by adjectives like selfish. Regardless of whether they really are or not (come on, "Kobe Doin' Work" was so contrived to be laughable: "*surprised look* Guys, why the hell is Kobe talking to us politely and suggesting how we can play better rather than yelling at us?? I'm so confused!"), reputation is about public perception, and that is simply the way it is with those players specifically.

    Income generated. Well, sir, being in Los Angeles surrounded by movie stars who don't know much about the game itself and, therefore, show up midway through the 2nd quarter and leave by halftime just to, ya know, make an appearance, certainly helps your case here. Although I have one anecdote to share. My dad went to several games in the 1960s in the Russell era. There were always tickets to be had, probably attributed to the fact that Red was throwing out 5 blacks to start the game in a highly racist city. However, my dad never saw Larry Bird play a game in person. The Garden was always sold out of its 13,909 seats. Although it's easier to get tickets now through Stubhub, etc., the Garden still sells out and Boston as a whole is considered one of the best sports towns in America. I guess pile that one into "local economy" as well.

    Not sure what you mean by "association."

    Staying power. No argument here. You have to give that to the C's again. They've never moved (Minneapolis, anyone? Not many lakes in CA..), and have been around since the inception of the NBA.

    Longevity of tenure. Interesting one and something I'd like to research further. But for now, I'll try and do this off the top of my head. Red was involved with the team from 1950-early 1990s (after that, it was merely in name only). Paul Pierce has stayed with the same team his whole careers, as had Bird, Russell, Heinsohn, Havlicek, and Kevin McHale, to name just some off the top of my head (I think you almost have to count Bob Cousy, who played one year with some random team after the Celtics...the Royals?). I'm unsure about the Lakers and people associated with them, but this one might be a wash for all I know.

    I'll give you the paparazzi factor. I'm happy to have none of that on the Celtics. Although we do get Donnie Wahlberg occasionally at our games!

    Look, I'm probably never going to convince you, as you'll never convince me. Diehard fans are diehard fans for a reason. I just find it really hard to argue against the ultimate goal of every franchise. 17-15 is what it stands for now and that, among other, lesser factors, is why to me the Celtics are undoubtedly the greatest franchise ever.

  9. You make great points for your side, I won't deny that. We're not discussing a vast disparity in titles such as the Yankees in baseball or the Canadiens in hockey where there is a clear-cut answer.

    To also answer your question as far as the ultimate goal of a franchise, I also find it hard to believe that Grousbeck only cares about titles. He's a VC guy. Being in pe myself, you don't make an investment like this just for the pure enjoyment. Well, unless you're Paul Allen.

    As far as the untimely and tragedies of Bias/Lewis, it still cannot and should not take the supposed greatest franchise in the league nearly 20 years to rebuild. Timing was a key factor in the 08 championship. Ray Allen/KG. If you had won the lottery and drafted Oden, there goes the championship. I say this because I've heard a lot of counter arguments saying we've gotten lucky with free agency. No argument from me. But that's what successful franchises do. We also had Jerry West, who was every bit the gm Red Auerbach was. Let's not forget Auerbach was around in a time where,for example Bob Cousy.He refused to report to Chicago, and anotherteam, and the Celtic just "picked"him up. Not lessening Red's achievements, but let's put it into perspective here. I don't want to get into the Phil had the best players discussion. Maybe we can do that offline.

    You're correct in the sense that we will never come to any sort of medium on this topic. But there's something to be said about a laker fan and celtic fan actually having a discussion without us becoming internet "thugs"!

    I'll leave it with this. let's compare franchises as multinationals corps. Celtics have won best "product" of the year 17 times to 15 times for the Lakers. Lakers have been in the top 2 50% of the time. Have been in discussions consistently 90% of the time. Lakers have had 4 CEO's while the Celtics have had at least a dozen. Lakers are valued at least 30% higher than the Celtics on most valuation charts and also are in the top 2 of NOI and earnings. Also intangibles. Lakers have had those polarizing, larger than life players. It appears you're not a fan of that, but it does create more entertainment value to bring in casual fans to watch them play.

    I just think the Lakers just are a better brand(franchise) in just about every facet.

  10. Also, as as a level-headed true fan of the Celtics, I read this article about a "what if" scenario. Keeping the #5 pick and picking Jeff Green, roster i believe was
    Rondo, Pierce,Green, Jefferson, Perkins with West, Sczerbiak, Gomes, BBD,Powe for a full youth movement. I believe the Blazers at the time were willing to trade BRoy for Pierce, but if not, there would have been a team willing to trade for top 5 clutch player in the league.

  11. I'm not going to perpetuate the argument further...I think we've done as much as we can from each side without really repeating ourselves.
    You think the Lakers have more intangibles; I think the Celtics do. You look at the franchises in a business fashion; I look at it from more of a fans' perspective, in terms of wanting to win (the "pure enjoyment" idea).
    In all, we'll have to agree to disagree, although I certainly do see your points of view, and perhaps should amend the headline "You've Got to Be Kidding Me" to a more, let's say, PC title...although the Celtic fan in me maintains that belief!

    Just one thing, though. Bob Cousy was drafted by some team that folded before he could play. At the time, there was a territorial dispersal draft and since Cousy was from Holy Cross, the Celtics had territorial rights over him more than any other team. You're right that Red had really nothing to do with him--he didn't necessarily even want him.

    Anyways, good discussion and thanks for reading. I'm glad this didn't become a full-on flame war.

    To Anonymous #2: Our worst luck in the draft ultimately turned into the best thing that could have happened, obviously. Pierce would have undoubtedly not lasted another youth movement with the addition of Jeff Green and bolted town. A guy can only take so many losing seasons. I'm not sure exactly what your point is, but regarding the draft, I'm not a fan of the lottery system, despite what happened to us in 2007. I know they do it to avoid teams from tanking, but I feel that teams still do that to try and get the best possible number. It only makes logical sense that the worst team should get the best pick. But I digress. Perhaps our guest writer on the draft could weigh in in a separate piece.

  12. Andy- Good blog. I respect your passion.

    I think it's a very interesting argument, and what is truly amazing is that there is no other team even in the discussion. Think about that. Is that true in any other sport ? The way these two teams have dominated the NBA. 32 out of 63 NBA championships between Boston and LA. No one else is even remotely close. Chicago- 6 Spurs-4 Philly- 3 Detroit-3. you have to add those 4 together to get into the LA-Boston stratosphere. It's a Lakers and Celtics league, the other teams are just renting space.

    By the way, if you're going to start talking about bad luck, the title count would be 17-17 if not for some untimely injuries right before the Finals ( Magic and Byron Scott's hamstrings in the '89 Finals and Karl Malone's knee in the '04 Finals). But I don't think bad luck is relevant, and besides, the fans of the other 28 teams in the NBA would kill to have the Celtics' and the Lakers' luck. The results are what they are.

    As a lifelong Laker fan, my view is skewed by the fact that i was too young to experience any of the '60's games. I vaguely remember the 3 OT Finals game of Cs vs Suns in the mid-70's, but no details. My real basketball memories start in the late '70's, when neither team was winning titles.

    In the '80s, as heartbreaking as it was for me to watch Worthy throw a bad inbounds pass and Magic choke at the line in '84 to giftwrap the series to the Celts, the Lakers winning in '85 at the Garden and in '87 made it all ok for me, b/c LA took two out of three series, and won more titles overall in the '80's. Then the Celts fell off much more quickly than LA did, as the Lakers were still playing for the title in '91.

    So I don't think you can't say the Celtics have owned the Lakers across all eras. The Celtics owned the Lakers in the '60s, no doubt, but not since. LA won the head to head battles in the '80s, and more titles overall, then both teams fell down for a lot of the '90s.

    In this decade, the Celts have beaten LA once and have one title. LA has four titles, and has played in the Finals 6 times. One loss does not constitute the Cs owning the Lakers this decade, and LA has been the much better team overall for this decade, and has four times as many titles to prove it. It's not the Lakers' fault that the Celts were in the lottery or getting booted in the early rounds during the first half of the decade, when they were mopping the floor with whomever was coming out of the East.

    I'm biased, obviously, but the small difference in number of titles won, is in my mind offset by the Lakers winning championships and being competitive over a far greater period of time. Sustained excellence. Since the merger it's not even close. The Lakers have 9 titles and 15 finals appearances. They've been to the postseason 31 times in 33 seasons. Boston has 4 titles and 6 finals appearance. They've been to the postseason 22 times in 33 seasons. That's one third of the time in the lottery.

    And when the Celtics have been bad, they have sometimes been truly horrendous, and have stayed bad for some extended periods.
    LA went to the lottery only once in the '90's and once this decade.

    Although Boston has a slight edge in the total number of titles, it's not overwhelming (if '66, '69 or '84 go the other way,it's 16-16). So for me, the Lakers sustained excellence outweighs the slightly fewer titles aspect. I am glad I'm a Laker fan, as I've seen much more success during my lifetime, which obviously skews my perception, which is why this is a debate that neither one of us will ever win.


  13. PART 2

    But there's no doubt that there is no one else in the debate.

    And as much as I don't like the Celtics, I respect them. That run in the '60's speaks for itself. It's incredible. And the NBA is so much better for me (and I'm sure for you guys in reverse) with the Lakers having an arch-rival and vice versa. B/c as great as Lakers-Blazers or Celtics-Sixers is, there is really only one worthy rival for each of these teams.

    Btw, I think Phil is the greatest coach in the history of pro sports, and I think Red is the greatest executive in the history of pro sports (yes, even over Jerry West, as much as I hate to say it). But their job descriptions aren't the same. The players, salary cap, luxury tax, 24/7 news cycle, management specialization, and, most importantly, the amount of money involved have changed the game so much that what Phil does is only remotely related to what Red did. That's not a knock on either one. They are/were both the best at what they do.

    Phil is highly underrated as a coach. I suffered through the Del Harris years, when Shaq and Kobe had tons of talent around them, and yet they never could get out of the Western Conference, losing 4-0 Utah, 4-1 Utah and 4-0 Spurs over a three year period. Phil arrived and they won three straight rings. No one has ever won a title without talented players. But there have been plenty of coaches who had lots of talent on their rosters who never won anything. MJ and Kobe have never won a ring without Phil as their coach, which says a lot. And Shaq won his other ring under Riley, another great coach. The reality is, the psychological aspect of coaching is by far the most important in the modern game. That's why Doc is a good coach. For whatever x and o miscues he might have, his players will kill for him and leave it all on the floor.

    I also think b/c it was 40-50 years ago, and because he is thought of mostly as a coach, Red doesn't get the credit he should, except among hardcore bball fans, for building that incredible dynasty. 11 titles in 13 years. In our ADD, historically-challenged society, no one even thinks about that any more, but it's a mind-boggling run.
    There's never been anything like it, and I don't think there ever will be again.

    I truly hope to see Lakers vs Celtics in the Finals next year, as that would be epic. I just got back from Orlando, and it was an amazing experience to go to a Finals game on the road. (Especially since they won.) I've always wanted to go to a Lakers-Celtics game in Boston, so if it's LA- Boston next year, I'm coming to Boston for a game and I'm going to give you a shout. We'll continue the debate at a fine Boston drinking establishment (pre-game, of course- post-game would be too painful for one of us).


    Michael from LA

  14. I'd like to respond to all of your points, but I'm tired and I feel like I've done enough responding to last a lifetime. I completely respect and understand your perspective. You're clearly a fan of the Lakers and, perhaps more importantly, a fan of the game itself. The points you bring up are well-thought and convincing (although I maintain my beliefs). But, as you say, what it comes down to is passion and we're both passionate people about our respective teams. The debate will rage on for the foreseeable future and no evidence or persuasion will matter for either side. The "bad luck" argument, for instance, could apply to countless situations in both teams' histories.

    I find the Celtics, Lakers...everybody else to be very interesting. Before you went into detail, I hadn't given the idea much thought, probably because of the Celtics "recent" bad stretch when it felt like we were the Memphis Grizzlies or some expansion team playing its first year. But in this day and age in sports, it's incredibly unique to have two teams be so far and ahead of everyone else in their history.

    What we can agree on is the intensity a Celtics-Lakers Finals would bring. I do anticipate that they'll both be back (half-Celtics fan, and half-NBA fan in me hopes so), as the C's will be back at full strength, KG will probably be his hungriest to date, and hopefully Ainge will work his magic and get a decent veteran bench player or defensive specialist. Could the NBA world ask for anything sweeter than the top two NBA franchises of all-time in the Finals again?

    Thank you for reading the blog and I hope you continue to do so. Enjoy the offseason and we'll see you in late December (hopefully it won't be a blowout like Christmas was this past year!)

  15. No need for a detailed response. I was laying out why I feel the way I do, but I wasn't saying that makes your arguments invalid. I think there's enough substance to both sides that both viewpoints are totally valid and justified. It's all about the point of view. That's part of why it's such a great rivalry- there are great arguments for both sides- more than enough to justify either viewpoint.

    And it would make basketball way less fun if it got to a point where one team was so far ahead of the other that there was no longer a valid debate to be had.

    When the Celtics weren't doing well earlier in the decade, it used to bum me out that you would go to a Laker- Celtic game and it wouldn't feel much different from a game against the Grizzlies. Now, it's the game of the year again, as it should be. It feels like a playoff game.

    I think the Cs are the class of the East when healthy. The fact that they took Orlando to 7 before running out of gas, despite having no KG or Powe and a terrible bench, after surviving the BUlls series was amazing. If KG comes back strong, they've got at least one more year in the Finals with their current group, and with Rondo, Perkins and Davis emerging, their window could stay open for a while even as the older guys decline.

    As long as LA resigns its free agents, they'll be in good shape for a Finals rematch also, which would be awesome.

    Good luck to KG on his knee rehab. I have a feeling Christmas day will be at the Garden this year. Great setting for a Christmas night primetime matchup. Have a good offseason.

  16. Andy,

    We do have differing opinions on what makes a franchise great. You take the objective viewpoint in stating they've won the most titles. Therefore, it's cut and dry. I take the other approach in taking the many altruistic characteristics in what makes a franchise "the most successful" Not some algorithmic method as Hollinger (which I may add is bogus and is purely for discussion purposes only). This is what makes a sport sport. Good luck next year from a Lakers fan and I hope for health on both sides. There is no team that scares me other than the Celtics.