Kevin McHale, one of the most well liked players in NBA history says he has only 1 regret about his career. On November 4th 2013 Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis during a game and destroyed his reputation. He was fined $25k for it. Now 20 years later Kevin reflects back on what might have been if that did not happen
The “1984 nba finals” is a game that Kevin McHale says he has only 1 regret about.
The Los Angeles Lakers and their fast-break buckets had worn the Boston Celtics down. During the 1984 NBA Finals, the run-and-gun Lakers did a number on the Celtics. The city of Boston has had enough.
The Celtics were on the verge of collapse after being blasted out in Game 3 and behind 2-1 in the series. In Game 4, they discussed about allowing the Lakers any easy baskets, and Kevin McHale got the message loud and clear.
McHale performed the hard work in the third quarter when his team was behind by six points. Kurt Rambis, who was on the verge of a quick break, was memorably clotheslined by him. The benches were emptied, the fans booed, and the game’s momentum shifted. The Celtics went on to win the game, tying the series at one game apiece. McHale stated he only had one regret from the play, 37 years later.
With his play on Kurt Rambis, Kevin McHale led the Boston Celtics to a Game 4 comeback.
During an NBA basketball game at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts in 1992, Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics competes for position with Tom Chambers of the Phoenix Suns. | Getty Images/Focus on Sport
After splitting the first two games in Boston, Larry Bird hammered his team as the Lakers cruised to a 137-104 win in Game 3. During his postgame interview, he referred to the Celtics as “sissies” and branded them “soft.”
During the Locked On Celtics podcast in 2020, former Celtics guard Danny Ainge said, “I remember Larry saying something to the media about how soft the team is.” “However, our performance in Game 3 in Los Angeles embarrassed and humiliated every single individual who saw that footage.”
The piece was described as “inspiring” by Ainge. It helped energize the squad, he added, since McHale isn’t the kind of person who would tear a player down like that.
“In my perspective, the fact that Kevin was the one who brought Rambis down with a clothesline was much more spectacular than if Larry had done it,” Ainge remarked. “And for his teammates, the idea that Kevin had done it was exhilarating.”
“Seeing Kevin play inspired us to think, ‘Wow, that’s what we’re talking about.’ You’ve spoken the talk and now you’ve walked the walk.’ That was fantastic. That was one of my all-time favorite Kevin performances.”
Kevin McHale said that he only had one regret from the performance.
Today is 36 years ago…
Game 4 of the NBA Finals
Kurt Rambis gets a vicious clothesline from Kevin McHale.
At the Forum, the Celtics (+6.5) defeated the Lakers 129-125.
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 6, 2020
McHale and Maxwell relived the occasion during an appearance on The Cedric Maxwell Podcast in 2021. They were both Celtics at the time. McHale recalled head coach K.C. Jones being frustrated with his squad for allowing too many easy baskets.
After the Game 3 defeat, Maxwell recalled the practice and claimed McHale, as good of a player as he was, will always be known as the person who clotheslined Rambis.
Maxwell said, “We had a session before that where we declared nobody was going to get any layups.” “Of all the men on that tea, I didn’t anticipate (McHale) to go ham and clothesline the person going into the lane.” It energised us as a group. OK, Laker fans, Laker squad, are you ready to kick some ass and name some names? Let’s go to war.”
McHale also mentioned the practice from the day before.
McHale answered, “Yeah, we had the practice.” “K.C. kept telling me I was sick of layups. It simply kept repeating itself over and again. Of course, they began the game by rushing up and down, like they normally do.
“Honestly, my only regret is that it wasn’t (James) Worthy, Magic (Johnson), or someone else.” Kurt Rambis happened to be there. I basically said, “No layups.” There will be no layup, no matter what occurs.
“You and I, Max, used to be fairly excellent defenders.” We made a lot of plays with the ball. We’d smack it, confront it from above, or get our bodies in the way. On the ball, I wasn’t making a play. “Screw that,” I said.
McHale’s performance resulted in a suspenseful seven-game series.
Despite the brutal treatment Rambis received, McHale was unharmed. Rambis stayed in the game and proceeded to the free throw line to make his free shots. That wasn’t the end of the suspenseful game, however.
“What people forget is that Larry and Kareem are going nose to nose maybe five minutes later,” McHale added. “They’re yelling at each other and mf-ing one other all over the place.” “OK, we’ve got something going on here,” I said.
The Celtics were absolutely outplayed in all four games. They needed a Gerald Henderson steal in the final seconds of Game 2 to force overtime. Despite this, the score was 2-2 on the way back to Boston.
The Celtics won Game 5 121-103, but then lost Game 6 in Los Angeles, forcing the series back to Boston for a winner-take-all Game 7.
The Celtics won 111-102 to seal the deal.
McHale confessed that they didn’t play particularly well in the first half of the series, but that the difference was in the offensive rebounding.
“We didn’t play great in those games, but we rebounded the ball like crazy on offense,” he remarked. “We essentially forced our will on them.” We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but we were just tossing it up there and getting it over and over again. That series was won solely on the basis of superiority on the boards.”
That clothesline also had a significant influence.
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