In basketball, horse racing and baseball, May 5 in sports history was a day for unparalleled dominance.
Balloons and champagne? Here’s what you can do with that, L.A. Lakers.
On this date in 1969 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, the Celtics won Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 108-106, for their 11th championship in 13 seasons. Anticipating a victory, the Lakers had thousands of balloons in the rafters, a band ready to play “Happy Days Are Here Again” and champagne ready to uncork.
“What are they going to do with all those (expletive) balloons now?” Boston GM Red Auerbach asked, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And all that champagne?”
Celtics star John Havlicek, who scored 26 points, called it his most satisfying championship with the team, which finished fourth in the Eastern Division during the regular season. “We gave away the home-court advantage in every series,” he told the Boston Globe, “and we were the underdog in every series.”
Wrote Globe columnist Bob Sales: “There is a mystique about the Celtics. The other players in the league know about it. They know that a victory over the Celtics is the highlight of a season. Deep down, they’d all like to be part of it.”