31 Years Ago, A Memorial Day Massacre

Lakers and Celtics before Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals

Lakers and Celtics before Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals

Growing up in 1980s, I was obsessed with the Lakers. Posters and cutout magazine photos of Riley, Magic, Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Rambis and Kareem covered my bedroom walls.

One of the most painful losses I endured as a young Lakers fan was Memorial Day, May 27th, 1985. It was Game 1 of NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics. Having lost to Celtics in the finals the year before, I expected the team to enter Boston Garden inspired to take the title back to LA.

Instead it turned into what was known as the "Memorial Day Massacre" with Boston winning 148-114, the sixth largest margin of victory in NBA Finals history. Kareem finished the game with 12 points and three rebounds. After the game he apologized to his teammates for his poor play.

After Game 1, Kareem played like a man possessed, averaging 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 blocks in leading the Lakers to a 4-2 series win over Boston and winning the series MVP. 

In one memorable sequence, Abdul-Jabbar grabbed a rebound, drove the length of the court and swished a sky-hook. He also dove for a loose ball to which Riley responded after the game,  "What you saw today [from Kareem], was passion."