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Friday, June 18, 2010
The Celtics' missing player

By Henry Abbott

Comedian Mike Birbiglia did not play for the Celtics in Game 7 -- or any game, for that matter. But not for lack of preparation:
Every kid who grew up in the 80s in Massachusetts thought they could be Larry Bird. The legend of the Celtics superstar was that he was not a natural athlete. That he wasn’t even very good at basketball growing up. That he was frankly kind of an idiot, too. Larry Bird was just some dumb, oafish kid who had put his mind to basketball. I remember thinking, That’s like me! I’m an idiot and I suck at sports too! I’m exactly like Larry Bird! I’m going to be in Hall of Fame. These legends of Larry Bird failed to mention that Bird was six-foot-nine and had hands the size of baseball gloves. So I set my mind to it.

I asked my parents to put in a basketball hoop in the driveway. I’d hit free throw after eleven-and-a-half-foot free throw until I was blind. Or I should say, until it was dark. I was really good at playing basketball alone –- Baskurbation. And surely my solo basketball skills would blow the other kids’ minds when I showed them off.

Eventually, Birbiglia gets to the part of the tale where he brings his skills to an actual game.

The operative line: "I find that you really lose the confidence of your fellow basketball players when you cry in the middle of a game."

So, yes, the Celtics went down while missing a key player. But no, that key player was not Mike Birbiglia.