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In elementary school, my sister discarded (or left in my dresser, for whatever reason), an unlicensed Lakers t-shirt. I decided to wear it to school the next day because: A) I discovered it, which was its own sense of satisfaction, and B) it was the 1980's, and bight yellow was considered a fine, fine color for any outfit.

Since I was not a sports enthusiast, I was unaware of greatest NBA rivalry of that decade: the Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. Wearing the shirt sparked an insignificant class feud over who really was the better team. After an day of postering the walls with handmade team propoganda, our teacher put an end to it by taking away the recess basketball for an entire week. The collective excitement of classmates either trying rally me or convert me was unexpected, so I said nothing so to prolong it. I couldn't have cared less about the teams, but I was proud that I had enough influence to spark such a debate at school in the first place by wearing a shirt that just happened to fit.

One of the kids in my class, an avid Celtics fan, was committed to transforming my supposed alliance with the Lakers to his beloved Celtics. His tactic for winning me over was to overwhelm me with his sermon of Larry Bird career statistics. Sensing his failure to rouse my emotions, he had one last argument, which was as good as any: " . . . besides, his number is 33. You can't tell me that 33 isn't an awesome number?"

This issue, being number 33, I offer a tribute to my classmate’s argument with the career highlights of another 33 - Larry Bird, Boston Celtics Legend:

• NBA Rookie of the Year (1980)
• NBA Most Valuable Player (1984-86)
• All-NBA First Team (1980-88)
• All-NBA Second Team (1990)
• NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1982-84)
• Twelve-time NBA All-Star (1980-88, 1990-92)
• NBA All-Star Game MVP (1982)
• Long Distance Shootout Winner (1986-88)
• NBA Finals MVP (1984, 1986)
• Scored 21,791 points (24.3 ppg) in 897 professional games, including a career-high 28.1 ppg in 1987
• Scored a career and team-high 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks in New Orleans on March 25, 1985
• Led the NBA in free throw shooting (1984, 1986, 1990)
• NBA championships with the Boston Celtics (1981, 1984, 1986)
• In a 12-year time span, Bird teamed with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to form one of the greatest frontlines in professional basketball
• The trio compiled a 690-276 record, won nine Atlantic Division titles and five Eastern Conference championships
• NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)
• Member of gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team (1992)
• Named Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations on July 11, 2003


About Author

Matthew Gamber is a Boston-based artist with a BFA from Bowling Green State University and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts / Tufts University. He has taught at Art Institute of Boston / Lesley University, Boston College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, College of the Holy Cross, Savannah College of Art & Design, and Massachusetts College of Art & Design and worked on digital preservation projects for Harvard University and the Boston Public Library. Matthew was the Editor in Chief of Big Red & Shiny from 2004 to 2010.

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