Monday, December 30, 2019

Dick Clark's Rockin' 10 Greatest Dynasties! Ever! Part V!

Due to copyright obligations, all further Greatest Dynasties!  Ever!  posts this close to New Year's Eve must make reference to Dick Clark's Rockin'.  Hey, it seemed like a good deal at the time.

Our story so far:

10. Chicago Cubs, 1906-1910.

9. Boston Red Sox, 1912-1918.

8. Los Angeles Lakers, 1980-1991.

7. New York Yankees, 1994-2003.

6. Green Bay Packers, 1960-1967.

5. Chicago Bulls, 1988-1998.

4. Montreal Canadiens, 1955-1979.

The tension builds as we get to No. 3, which is...

3. Boston Celtics, 1956-1969.  In some ways, nobody else gets close to these guys.  13 seasons, 11 NBA Championships, including the all-time, North America major pro-sports record of 8 in a row, 1958-1966.  If not for league MVP Bill Russell being injured and hobbling during most of the 1957-58 finals loss to the St. Louis Hawks, the Celtics likely would've made it 10 in a row.

We're also talking 9 straight first-place finishes, 10 seasons of 50-plus wins, and 3 seasons of 60-plus wins.

What's more, the Celts did it the right away, with Jewish genius coach-GM from Brooklyn in Red Auerbach, who in turn brought in the first black coach in major sports history, Bill Russell.

The Celtics were not the first NBA team to sign an African-American player—I think that distinction is one of the few happy notes in Knicks history—but they were the first team in league history with many starters or regulars who were black:  Russell, Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Don Chaney.  As well, of course, as such outstanding white players as Bob Cousy, John Havilcek, Tommy Heinsohn, Frank Ramsey, Don Nelson, and Larry Siegfried.

The amount of coaching talent alone that came from these teams is extraordinary.  (And of course it also should be noted that great as their Russell-led teams were, their attendance never matched that of later Celtic teams led by the likes of Dave Cowens and Larry Bird.  Ah, Boston.)

So why aren't they ranked higher?  In part, because our No. 1 and No. 2 dynasties were, incredibly, even longer lived.  And in part because of where the NBA was, when they were at their best.

In 1956-57, the first year of this dynasty, the NBA was still a very marginal outfit.  We're talking an eight-team league, in which three of the teams played in Fort Wayne, Rochester, and Syracuse (with no offense to our Peerless Leader).  Indeed, the ONLY two NBA teams that remain in their original homes from that year are the Celtics and, sadly, the Knicks, who were still playing some games in the 69th St. Armory.

The Celtics helped lead the NBA's transition to the big-time.  But even in the last season of the dynasty, 1968-69, the aging Celts were able to preserve themselves, finish a lackluster 4th (and 6th in terms of overall record) and still win the title.  For that matter, they didn't finish first for the last four years of the dynasty.

Throw in how inferior players throughout this time were in general—in size and athleticism—to the NBA today, how many felt the Harlem Globetrotters could've beaten the NBA champs at the beginning of it, and how different the rules are today, and we're talking about a great champion (relatively) limited by its historical place.

But still—what a team.  What sustained excellence.

Coming up...No. 2!  And No. 1!  And Dick Clark!



TheWinWarblist said...

Coming up...No. 2! And No. 1! And Dick Clark?

Dick Clark!?

Fuck Dick Clark!!

TheWinWarblist said...

No. 1 better not be American Bandstand!!

Dick Clark!?

Fuck Dick Clark!!

Anonymous said...

Winnie, methinks you knoweth not of what you speaketh, in this instance - - imho, Dick Clark was a pretty classy person - - especially for someone so rich & powerful. For instance, he was a very faithful sponsor of the ALS Mammoth Music Mart, in Skokie, for 26 years. Most years, he would show up for opening day, spin platters, have contests, and sign autographs for those who asked. He would also often donate some rather unique items for auction. I think the world would have been poorer without him.
LB (No J)

Anonymous said...





LB (No J)

Parson Tom said...

Boston sucks

TheWinWarblist said...

LB (No J), don't mind me; I sometimes get a wee bit irascible when it's busy at work. Or when it's slow at work.

Or around the holidays.

Or whatever ...

ranger_lp said...

Dick Clark never thought the Beatles would make it when they first came to America...

JM said...

Hoss, how about a top ten list of the worst anti-dynasties? Teams that were so bad for a protracted period of time that it's hard to believe they even survived. Hell, maybe some didn't.

Your mentioning the Knicks triggered that thought.

The St. Louis Browns also come to mind..."They had only two winning records from 1927 to 1943, including a 43-111 mark in 1939 that is still the worst in franchise history."

Way to go, Brownies.

ranger_lp said... can add the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the day...nobody wanted to play in Pittsburgh then...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good thought, JM. I remember seeing somewhere that the Phillies did not even contend between their pennants in 1915 and 1950. Probably close to the same could be said about the Braves between 1914-1948, the Senators outside of 1924-1933, the Athletics for long stretches, and even the Red Sox from 1919-1935 or so.

My next Hot Stove project!

Anonymous said...

I kept waiting for this one, but was afraid to mention "Boston"!! My brother and I were huge fans. He was Russell...I was Havlicek. That team was absolutely unbelievable to watch. Thanks for giving them their due place. I can't wait to see the top two!

This has been a very entertaining series. Thanks for doing it.

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