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A sportswriter presents a combined biography of three of the greatest players in Boston Celtics history, showing how Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish joined forces to become the NBA's greatest front court. 25,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.
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Bill, Hillary, and Al? Nope--Boston Globe sportswriter May means big as in BIG. His three are the towering trees of the Boston Celtics: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, whose lives and baskets are cheered to the rafters in this gung- ho hoop-scoop. May has a hot topic here since, as he shouts more than once, the tremendous trio did indeed make up ``the greatest frontcourt in the history of basketball.'' Also the longest-lived, dribbling together for nearly a decade, snaring heaps of championships along the way. As a portraitist, May hits three-pointers every time. Bird: the hick from French Lick, Indiana; the human basketball machine; winner of three consecutive MVPs; the best team player in history and, except for Michael Jordan, the best, period. McHale: laid-back, undervalued, dribbling and driving with breathtaking grace but always in Bird's shadow. Parish: the silent one, indestructible and inexorable, still on the courts in 1993, now the oldest player in the league. As a historian, however, May slows the game to a snail's pace as he reports in endless nit-picking detail about the trio's high-school days, scouting reports, signings, and contract hassles. Things speed up when the guys hit the NBA and tear up the court, blowing away archrivals Philadelphia and Los Angeles and--in the 1985-6 season, when they were 40-1 at the Boston Garden--reaching an apex of basketball harmonics never seen before or since, and making a strong claim to being the best team ever assembled in any sport. ``If I could, I would go back and play that year every year for the rest of my life,'' says McHale with an intensity that readers, egged on by May's partisanship, will likely echo. Not as thrilling as a Bird-McHale-Parish charge to the basket, but good enough for those who never saw--or who want to recapture--the real thing. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
The Boston Celtic front line of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish dominated the National Basketball Association with three championships in five years in the early 1980s. May, a veteran Celtic beat reporter, examines each player's career from youth through college and into their NBA years. Though he relies to a great extent on game accounts and basketball anecdotes, May tries to probe beneath the surface. Not only does he reveal the private side of each player's personality, he also examines why they were able to work so well as a unit. He doesn't gloss over the negative aspects of each, either, exploring, for example, the belief that McHale wasn't an especially hard worker and the stories of Bird's failed marriage and Parish's three children born out of wedlock. Though May makes a noble attempt to explain the chemistry between the Celtic big three, he can't ever quite manage it. Chemistry is impossible to define even when one is a part of it; dissecting it from outside is even harder. Still, NBA fans will appreciate the effort and enjoy reliving the glory days of three shoo-in Hall of Famers. Wes Lukowsky
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