The retirement of Bobby Orr’s No. 4 squares off against the birth of the “Beat L.A.” chant in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
8. Bobby Orr’s No. 4 jersey retiredWinning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate achievement for hockey players. But having a jersey retired by a team doesn’t come far behind. Bobby Orr won two Stanley Cups with the Bruins, and on Jan. 9, 1979, Orr had his jersey retired at a packed Boston Garden. The honor came three years after Orr left Boston for the Chicago Blackhawks, but Bruins fans still treated Orr as one of their own. When the former Bruins defenseman came out, the fans gave Orr a long standing ovation. After Orr put on his old Bruins sweater and the fans continued to cheer, the ex-Bruin wiped away a few tears. As the crowd kept roaring and clapping, the No. 4 banner was lifted into the rafters, and fans let Orr know that they appreciated watching the greatest player in the history of hockey.
9. ‘Beat L.A.’ chant bornIt’s one of the perennial debates among sports fans — if your team loses in the conference finals, in the ensuing championship series, do you root for the team that beat your team, so you can say that you lost to the best? Or do you spitefully root for the other team? In Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and 76ers at the Boston Garden, Celtics fans left no doubt on which side of the debate they stood — at least in regards to their hated rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. With time winding down and Philadelphia on the verge of defeating the reigning champs, Boston fans famously began to chant, “Beat L.A.!” Like a choir of hatemongers, the Boston crowd erupted in the resounding chant, letting Julius Erving and the Sixers know exactly what they expected of them in the Finals. The chant is now a rallying cry for Celtics fans and anti-Lakers NBA fans alike.
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