Below; the backstory on the Beat LA chant; via today's Boston Herald. At least one time Boston fans look classy.
It is, of course, a painful reminder of a rather unpleasant memory in Boston sports history, this because it was shouted by the Garden masses in the last seconds of Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference finals, the Philadelphia 76ers on the verge of eliminating the Celtics.
Thinking globally (OK, nationally) and acting locally, Celtics fans were announcing that, given the choice, they’d rather the 76ers win the NBA championship . . . as opposed to the hated Los Angeles Lakers, whom Philly would meet in the NBA Finals.
And so, after eliminating the Celtics the 76ers went on to meet the Lakers . . . and lost in six games.
Why, then, do Boston fans have favorable memories of the chant? That’s easy: It was clever. Plus, it was organic. No marketing people or PR flashes or courtside sports pundits were involved. No focus groups, no let’s-try-it-out-in-Peoria first.
Plus, it shows Boston sports fan in a positive light, what with them applauding the victorious 76ers and wishing them well against the Lakers.
And, it shows them as deep thinkers, as in the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that kind of stuff.
Since then, the chant has taken on a life of its own. Where once it was a shout-out for the 76ers to beat the Lakers, Celtics fans have retooled it for use when their own team is taking on the Lakers.
But you know all this. What invites yet another look at the “Beat LA!” chant is that last night at the Garden, before Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers, Julius Erving himself was on the court.
Asked if he had a favorite memory of playing in Boston, he did not hesitate.
“The seventh game in 1982,” he said.
Dr. J always did have a keen understanding of the history of the game, and its postseason pomp and circumstance. It just makes sense, then, that he would embrace the power of “Beat LA!”
“That was the beginning of ‘Beat LA!’ ” he said, offering a brief history lesson of the chant. “Andrew Toney had a terrific game. We came out to the parquet floor and nobody thought we could win.”