BOSTON — As the Golden State Warriors sit on the edge of history, only one win away from an NBA-record 73 wins, it’s hard to find many teams that rival what they’ve accomplished.
But the legendary Bill Walton has a certain team in mind: a team that might have just helped get the Warriors to where they are today.
Walton came to the Boston Celtics in 1985, and in his first year became a part of one of the greatest clubs ever assembled, the 1985-86 squad that won 67 games and went 40-1 at home en route to an NBA title.
The ebullient Basketball Hall of Famer spoke at length about his love for that Celtics squad Tuesday at the Liberty Hotel during a special event that reunited members of Boston’s 1966, 1976 and 1986 teams. But he also told an anecdote about an interesting interaction he had with his son, Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton.
“At the start of this season, people started sending around highlight videos of our (1986) Celtic team,” Walton said. “With the ball movement, and the skill, and the execution and the dominance — Chief (Robert Parish) throwing it down, Kevin (McHale) hitting fadeaways, Danny (Ainge) running wild, Larry (Bird) being Larry and D.J. (Dennis Johnson) just setting it all up just perfect — I sent that to our son, Luke.”
Luke, of course, began the season as Golden State’s interim head coach while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery and led the Warriors to a perfect 24-0 start. So, what did he think of his father’s ’86 Celtics?
“He said, ‘Wow. I’ve watched this three times already now, Dad. I’ve got to take this into our video session here,’ ” Bill said of Luke. “You’ll have to ask him if he ever did it.”
We wouldn’t be surprised if Luke’s Warriors took lessons from his father’s Celtics club. Golden State leads the NBA this season with 2,338 assists, just shy of the 2,387 mark set by a Boston team many consider to be the best passing squad in league history.
“The Warriors today represent what we had,” Walton said. “The best players, the ownership, the best management. Phenomenal fans, great culture, great identity, great style. And they have the best player in basketball: Steph Curry, which we had then (in Larry Bird).”
All comparisons aside, Walton is adamant in his support for Luke’s Warriors, even if it means they take a spot in the history books alongside his beloved Boston team.
“I want them to win the championship,” he said. “I want them to break all the records, I want Steph to be the unanimous MVP. I love the way they play, just like I loved the way the Celtics played.”
Thumbnail photo via Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Former UCLA and NBA player Bill Walton prior to the game between the Utah Utes and the UCLA Bruins at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah won 71-39. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
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