Boston Celtics Win NBA Championship

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The Boston Celtics crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 Tuesday night to win the series four to two.

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York. This is the Bryant Park Project.

(Soundbite of music)

MIKE PESCA, host:

Overlooking a park that I am told is historic, Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, hogs. I'm Mike Pesca. It's Wednesday, June 18th, 2008. Hogs, as in motorcycles, which we'll be talking about.

And you know, one upside for the early call-time I have for this show, you get to the - you get to avoid all the horrible sports news, if you are a fan like I am, of horrible sports teams, the Knicks, the Mets, the Jets, OK, they play on Sundays, but usually, the Mets, they fire their manager. They're losing on the West Coast. Far too late for even me to pay attention. The Boston Celtics is a Knicks fan, a team that I have to root against by birthright. Doesn't matter they won! I don't know about it.

It happened way after I have to go to sleep. When you read about it in the paper the next day, it's kind of nice. It's a distancing effect. You can concentrate on the prose stylings of the writer. You don't have to watch the game as your hopes and dreams are dashed. Regular news, bad news, that stays with you, because that stuff's real. But sports? When your team is losing, watching it live is just pure torture, and you don't feel guilty about not doing it if you have to go to sleep. So, this is my advice for you, fans of Seattle Supersonics, Toronto Blue Jays, Nippon-Ham Fighters, get a job where you have to wake up at 3:30. It makes things so much nicer.

Well, as I said, we will be talking about motorcycles, because they're good on fuel economy. We'll be talking to a fellow from the American Motorcycle Association, not to be confused with the American Medical Association, although sometimes, at conferences, I bet there are cross-ups and hilarity ensues. Also, Barack Obama has beefed up his staff for the general election. Not individually, you know, feeding them more calories, he's just added more people, and among the arsenal of political operatives, six pollsters. We'll have a rundown on the Obama campaign.

And oil, it's expensive and causing high gas prices. A professor-type will be answering the question about what can be done. And operas ripped from the headlines. Al Gore The Opera is coming to a stage near you. It's expected to be inconvenient and truthy (ph). But will it be good? We will get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of broadcast, 2008 NBA Finals Game Six)

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Unidentified Announcer: It is the end of a 22-year odyssey! It is the very definition of full circle! It is Banner 17!

PESCA: Last night, the Boston Celtics crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 131 to 92 to win the NBA Championship. It's been a couple of decades since Larry Bird helped bring the big prize to Beantown. That 22-year-championship drought was on the mind of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.

(Soundbite of press conference)

Mr. RAJON RONDO (Point Guard, Boston Celtics): It's been a long time coming. I mean, the last time we won a championship was when I was born. So I'm just definitely excited to be part of this organization, especially going through, you know, what we went through last year as team. Like I said, I am still glad to be part of this organization, a Celtic.

PESCA: That's right, Celtics greats Bill Russell and John Havlicek, who watched from courtside, Rajon Rondo just wants to remind you that you, sirs, are old. The win brought back dusty but vivid memories for Boston fans, like this sports bar owner.

(Soundbite of interview)

Unidentified Man: As a fan myself, it's great to finally - to see another championship in the area. I remember coming to the old Garden with my father and it's great.

PESCA: The Celtics dominated the game. Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, knew they were in trouble before halftime.

(Soundbite of press conference)

Mr. PHIL JACKSON (Coach, Los Angeles Lakers): The last two minutes of the second period, you know, buried the team emotionally, and we went in to the locker room at halftime, tried to get our guys back on bearing, and you know, really came out the third quarter, and really couldn't turn the momentum around.

PESCA: Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant, wants to learn from the defeat.

(Soundbite of press conference)

Mr. KOBE BRYANT (Shooting Guard and Team Captain, Los Angeles Lakers): Once you go through your ups and downs, and struggle a little bit, taste defeat, I think that makes you a little tougher.

PESCA: And it was fitting that, in winning a new championship in a new decade with a new team, Celtics fans at the Garden sang along with an inventive new song that no one had ever thought to sing before.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

(Soundbite of song "We Are the Champions")

Unidentified Boston Celtics Fans: (Singing) We are the champions. No time for losers, 'Cause we are the champions Of the world!

PESCA: All right, they played Queen's "We are the Champions," just like every other winning team in every sport has done since 1977. But Celtic's fans waited a long time for their turn to play it, so we'll give them a pass.

And it must be noted that now, with the Celtic's victory, the Red Sox as reigning baseball champions, the Patriots having won three of the last seven Super Bowls, one thing is clear. The Bruins really have to step it up. Wicked poor, B! Wicked poor, Bruins!

And you could go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now, let's get some more of today's headlines, and possibly accents, with Korva Coleman.

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