"Q&A With Dan Shaughnessy: Wish It Lasted Forever"

Author Bio:

"Dan Shaughnessy entertains and informs with sports commentary. He spreads the Globe brand on multiple platforms. Dan is the winner of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award presented at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2016. He has been named Mass Sportswriter of the Year 14 times and 12 times named top ten columnist by AP Sports Editors. He is the author of 12 books and his 13th book -- "Wish It Lasted Forever - Life with the Larry Bird Celtics" comes out in November 2021."

 

1.  Who is the best Boston Celtic of all time and why? 

Bill Russell. Won 11 championships in 13 seasons. Won two as a player coach. Greatest winner in sports history.

 

2.  What is one little known fact about the Celtics of the 1980s that you are excited for readers to learn in your new book, “Wish It Lasted Forever”?

Entire 1984 championship lineup came from second-tier college basketball schools -- Larry Bird (Indiana State), Robert Parish (Centenary), Cedric Maxwell (North Carolina - Charlotte), Dennis Johnson (Pepperdine), Gerald Henderson (Virginia Commonwealth).

 

3.  Which of today’s players would have fit in perfectly with or would have been a great addition to those 80s Celtic teams and why?

Giannis Antetokounmpo. Old school basketball values. Grew up poor. Hungry player. Not spoiled. Team player. Great size and skills. Runs the flood. Makes teammates better. Perfect fit for 80s Celtics.

 

4.  Who was more important to that era of Celtics basketball: Larry Bird or Red Auerbach?

Red Auerbach was most important. He created the culture and stocked the roster with players that were talented and worked together. 

 

5.  What was your writing process like for “Wish It Lasted Forever” and were there any surprising emotions that came up for you while writing this book and reliving some of these stories? 

Process for this book involved creating a linear narrative of my four years on the beat, interjecting the jokes and fun we had with one another as I grew into the job. My memory was helped by old journals and Globe library of clips. Once framed, I reached out to more than a dozen players to bring fresh quotes to the old stuff. This book is my Great Gatsby. The Celtics are Gatsby. I am Nick Carraway.

 

6.  Who was the best interview on those Celtic teams and who was the worst?

Bird was great and makes the book, but the best was probably Cedric Maxwell. But many were great: Kevin McHale, M. L. Carr and of course, Bill Walton. Worst for me was Robert Parish because the Chief hated me.

 

7.  How did locker room dynamics change once Bill Walton arrived to the team in 1985?

Walton just made it more fun. He is the king of hyperbole and everybody picked on him. He was secure enough in his own greatest to take the kidding.

 

8.  What is one thing that you feel history has mistaken or forgotten about the Larry Bird Celtics?

Bird's physical strength gets overlooked. Also his intellect. He's very street smart and funny. Instigator. Noticed everything.

 

9.  Do you feel that K.C. Jones is overlooked or underrated in the pantheon of legendary and iconic NBA coaches?

K.C. Jones is always underrated. He was the perfect coach for this group. When he died, Bird said he was the nicest man he ever met.

 

10.  Who has had more of an impact on the state of Massachusetts: Larry Bird, David Ortiz, or Tom Brady? 

Not Ortiz. Bird and Brady changed everything here. Never tainted. Brady won the most and played the most important sport of his time. Hard to top nine Super Bowls in the 21st century. But Bird was more fun and interesting. Not as polished. More real. Fans just love to read about him.

 

11.  Is there a reason why modern NBA arenas lack the essence and mystic that arenas such as the Boston Garden and the Chicago Stadium were once filled with?

Loss of poles put fans further away. Cost of tickets has taken away the common fans. Noise is a deterrent to older fans. It was louder and more intimate in the old days. Dirtier. And that was good.

 

12.  What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?

Just get something started and fix it later. It's a mistake to sit there and wait for the perfect lead or sentence. Your first instinct is generally your best one.

 

13.  What’s the best book you have read this year so far? 

Gods at Play by Tom Callahan.

 

14.  What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness? 

​​Good health is everything.

 

15.  Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

 No.

 

BONUS QUESTION: Would you rather spend a day farming with Larry Bird in French Lick, Indiana or attending a Grateful Dead show with Bill Walton?

Put me on the farm with Larry. I feel like we all know what it would be like with Bill at the Dead. He has virtually taken us there. The mystery of Larry is still untold.

 

Places To Find More From This Author:

Twitter: @dan_shaughnessy

Website: www.bostonglobe.com

 

Get Your Copy of Wish It Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics Today!

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