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Wish It Lasted Forever

Life with the Larry Bird Celtics

For fans of the hit basketball documentary The Last Dance, and from award-winning Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, a nostalgia-filled retelling of the Boston Celtics’ 1980s dominance, which featured the sublime play of NBA legend Larry Bird.

Today the NBA is a vast global franchise—a billion-dollar industry viewed by millions of fans in the United States and abroad. But it wasn’t always this successful. Before primetime ESPN coverage, lucrative branding deals like Air Jordans, and $40 million annual player salaries, there was the NBA of the 1970s and 1980s—when basketball was still an up-and-coming sport featuring old school beat reporters and players wore Converse All-Stars.

Enter Dan Shaughnessy, then the beat reporter for The Boston Globe who covered the Boston Celtics every day from 1982 to1986. It was a time when reporters travelled with professional teams—flying the same commercial airlines, riding the same buses, and staying in the same hotels. Shaughnessy knew the athletes as real people, losing free throw bets to Larry Bird, being gifted cheap cigars by the iconic coach Red Auerbach, and having his one-year-old daughter Sarah passed from player to player on a flight from Logan to Detroit Metro.

Drawing on unprecedented access and personal experiences that would not be possible for any reporter today, Shaughnessy takes us inside the legendary Larry Bird-led Celtics teams, capturing the camaraderie as they rose to dominate the NBA. Fans can witness the cockiness of Larry Bird (who once walked into an All Star Weekend locker room, announced that he was going to win the three-point contest, and did); the ageless athleticism of Robert Parish; the shooting skills of Kevin McHale; the fierce, self-sacrificing play of Bill Walton; and the playful humor of players like Danny Ainge, Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell, and M.L. Carr.

For any fan who longs to return—for just a few hours—to those magical years when the Boston Garden rocked, the LA Lakers were the perennial mountain to be climbed, and the winner’s circle was mostly colored Boston Green, Wish It Lasted Forever is a VIP courtside seat and masterful tribute to the Larry Bird era and the Celtics’ age of dominance.​

Photograph by Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe

Dan Shaughnessy is a sports columnist and associate editor for The Boston Globe, as well as the New York Times bestselling coauthor of Francona and author of The Curse of the Bambino. When not writing, Mr. Shaughnessy can often be found at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. He lives with his family in Boston.

"Take a seat on the bus, kids, with Larry and Kevin, Chief and Max, DJ and KC, and Danny and Red and Bill Walton, too. Wish It Lasted Forever is retro gold… This is a special book about a special time. Terrific.” 
Leigh Montville, former Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated 

"The best books are built on great reporting, great access, and great writing—access often being the toughest part of the equation. Dan Shaughnessy's new book Wish it Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics has it all. Enjoy it." 
John Feinstein, New York Times bestselling author of A Season on the Brink and coauthor, with Red Auerbach, of Let Me Tell You a Story 

“A fantastic read….In its combination of off-court camaraderie and on-court intensity, Shaughnessy’s epic ode to the Bird-McHale-Parrish Celtics evokes both Cheers and Hoosiers. Wish It Lasted Forever is about the obvious—historic rivalries, legendary athletes, and a remarkable string of championship seasons—but it’s also about an element of life as important as wins and losses: forever friendships formed by a group of guys playing a game.” 
Mike Barnicle, Senior Contributor to Morning Joe and former columnist for the New York Daily News, Boston Herald, and Boston Globe 

"The best books are built on great reporting, great access, and great writing—access often being the toughest part of the equation. Dan Shaughnessy's new book Wish it Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics—has it all. Enjoy it." 
John Feinstein, New York Times bestselling author of A Season on the Brink and coauthor, with Red Auerbach, of Let Me Tell You a Story 

“Over four decades at the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy has chronicled (and critiqued) memorable Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins championship teams. Still, for Shaughnessy, the Larry Bird Celtics of the mid-1980’s stand apart. Yes, they were distinctively great. Yes, they were a very colorful group. An abundant source of material. But for the scribe, this was the key: He, and they, were essentially contemporaries. He hung with them, lost cash in free throw shooting contests with them, and experienced it all with the exuberance and fresh perspective of youth.  This is the story of a great team, rendered in an immersive style. It’s also a writer’s coming of age story. Looking back on that team and time, it was Bill Walton who said, ‘I wish it lasted forever.’ He was speaking for the scribe as well.” 
Bob Costas, 28-time Emmy Award-winning sportscaster 

“Shaughnessy portrays a world that is unimaginable for a modern NBA fan. Newspaper writers, in particular, were an accepted part of each team’s day-to-day existence….In Dan’s wonderful book you will encounter exchanges that could never happen today…What I’m here to say is: Wish It Lasted Forever brought back untold pleasant memories of what could only be termed a Lost World. You’ll wish this book lasted forever.” 
Bob Ryan, Four-Time National Sportswriter of the Year, and coauthor, with Larry Bird, of Drive 

“You will devour this book, even if you’re too young to have experienced, as they were happening, these indelible moments from one of the greatest eras in basketball….To read these incredible stories, which are told with such behind-the-scenes detail, context, humor and humility, makes me incredibly jealous!” 
Abby Chin, NBA Broadcaster, Celtics Courtside Reporter  

“A book that brings to life those wonderful nights when Larry Bird and his remarkable teammates reminded fans around the country of how strongly Celtic Pride can coax the best from players. Dan Shaughnessy understands what attracted guys like me to the game.”  
Bob Cousy, 13-time All Star, MVP, member NBA Hall of Fame  

"Another book on Larry Bird? Yes, and it's delicious….Shaughnessy takes us back to a time when writers hung around with athletes; same flights, same hotels, same trips to the game—they were the ultimate boys on the bus.” 
Lesley Visser, Hall of Fame sportscaster 

“Dan Shaughnessy has long been an insider and has great knowledge of the game, which is on display in this look back at teams I played on. He has irritated the hell out of me but has entertained me at the same time.” 
Cedric Maxwell, Boston Celtic 1977-1985, MVP of 1981 NBA Finals 

More books from this author: Dan Shaughnessy