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Kevin McHale: The Swiss Army Knife

 

  

     Kevin McHale was the man of many moves. He could fake you out of your jock in the low post. He had it all. He could go inside and destroy you or even hit that midrange shot and later in his career knocked down some threes. He out leapt, out spun, and out maneuvered all his opponents and that led Charles Barkley to say he was the best player he ever played against

     Drafted with the 3rd overall pick in that steal of a trade for Robert Parish by Red Auerbach. Kevin's impact on the floor came very quickly. In game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 1981 during their 3 to 1 comeback he rejected Andrew Toney to secure the win for the Celtics. In game 4 of the NBA Finals in 84 with the Celtics trailing in the game and series, he made the infamous Rambis clothesline play which not only spurred the Celtics to a win in the game but eventually a title! 

     A little known fact was in free agency Kevin signed with the Knicks. So what was Red's answer - to go and sign their top three players. The Knicks decided to sign their guys and Kevin was back where he belonged. Kevin had a career high 56 point game which was a Celtics record at the time, when he asked to go out of the game Larry said you should have gone for 60! A few games later Larry got his 60! 

     McHale's torture chamber of moves , labeling each one, was virtually unstoppable. Danny Ainge called him the black hole of the low post because once the ball hit the pos, he rarely passed it back. . Kevin was a three time champ in 81, 84, and 86. A seven time All Star. Three time All Defensive First and Second teams. He was a two time Sixth Man of the Year winner. His number 32 hangs in the rafters of the Garden. He's a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary team. He won gold in the 79 Pan Am games. He's a member of the college basketball and basketball hall of fame. 

     Some say he was the greatest power forward of all time and was part of the greatest frontcourt of all time. After his playing career he was a GM, coach and TV analyst! We all remember the deal he and Danny Ainge worked on to get KG here! As all great Celtics in his final game at the Garden he a memorable 30 point performance. 

     Kevin will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. If he were in today's game, he'd be dominating the post just as he did for the Celtics in the 80s and 90s. Kevin also wasn't bad on the TV screen as we all remember him on the show Cheers. I wonder if he ever did figure out how many bolts were in the Garden floor. For Celtics fans watching Kevin McHale was like taking a master class in low post moves! 

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