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Knicks 2000, This Is Our Year

17 Dec
“Well it’s the Knicks, back in the mix, representing all New York City kids,
Like tricks, last year we done, Eastern Conference champs, and you’re about to see it again like a rerun
But this new season we’re about to enter, the Knicks taking no shorts, like winter,
So put your hands in the air and cheer:  Knicks 2000, this is our year!”
—-“Go New York, Go New York, Go”-New York Knicks Theme Song- 1999-2000

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ59Wg5h2aY

These days, something as simple as watching a Knicks game on TV can send my mind and emotions into frenzy.  And that is exactly what happened on the evening of December 6th as I watched the team that has alternately exhilarated and tormented our family for the past 20+ years completely dismantle LeBron James and the defending NBA champion Miami Heat under a barrage of threes from both unlikely sources (Raymond Felton-6 threes) and more likely suspects (Steve Novak-4 threes).  In Miami.  For the second time this year.  It was almost too good to be true.

I was joyous as I watched this beautiful blend of youngish old players and really old players whip passes around the perimeter for wide open threes, while Felton kept the defense honest by periodically driving the lane.  I texted frantically with Brett at Villanova.  It took every ounce of strength I had to refrain from texting Drew at Widener, but he had two finals the next morning, and if he was watching the game instead of studying, I didn’t want to know.  And through it all, my head nearly exploded from the pulsating lyrics of the old Knicks rap-style theme song that I couldn’t get out of my mind: “Knicks 2000, THIS IS OUR YEAR…GO NEW YORK, GO NEW YORK, GO….”

Why 2000?  It’s because , in the aftermath of the Cinderella season of 1998-1999 when the Knicks sprinted to the NBA finals as the 8th seed in the East, only to go out meekly against the Spurs in 5 games, the Garden played that song before every game and during many timeouts the following season, which was so full of hope.   But it later became a sarcastic rallying cry for Jeff and the rest of our family as the Knicks’ fortunes plummeted over the course of the next decade.  We’d be at a Knicks game in, say 2005, and if they were doing well that day, Jeff would turn to me and say, “Heyyyy, Knicks 2000, this is our year!”

That Knicks 2000 season (1999-2000) wasn’t their year to go all the way, as the theme song so hopefully suggested, but even so, it was another highly successful one for the Knicks. They finished third in the East with a 50-32 record before losing to Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Back then, the Garden was still a great place to be, and when Jeff turned 13 on March 2nd, 2000, I thought it would be fun to take him to a game for his birthday and to have the Garden post birthday wishes to him on the scoreboard. He loved it, and the snapshot of that scoreboard message remained on Jeff’s bookshelf in his room for the rest of his life, and it remains there today.

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The frenzy that took over my mind during the Heat game stemmed from the fact that the Knicks were such an integral part of Jeff’s life from the time he was about 3 years old until, almost literally, the day he died.  I took him to his first game in 1991 when he was 3 ½, and when Jeff and I stumbled upon Charles Oakley and John Starks signing autographs shortly thereafter in what is now the Target strip mall in Mount Kisco, Jeff was hooked for life as a die-hard Knicks fan.  Always armed with a camera back in those days, I was fortunate to be able to take photos of Jeff with these Knick stars.

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The decade of the 1990’s was a golden era for Knicks basketball, including two trips to the finals in ’94 and ’99.  They had a Hall of Fame center (Patrick Ewing) and coach (Pat Riley), and the Garden was absolutely electric in those days.  And as a family, we took full advantage and went to dozens of games over that decade and enjoyed every minute of them.

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I wish I could adequately describe the scene in our home on June 22nd, 1994 when the Knicks played the Rockets in Game 7 of the NBA finals.  The championship was at stake, and Jeff, Drew and I were pumped up for the game.  Carey was seven months pregnant with Brett, who was already enormous and very active, and would arrive two months later as our largest baby at 9 lbs, 2 oz.  Jeff wanted us all to watch together in our bedroom, which would have been fine, except that the two of us became increasingly agitated as John Starks proceeded to shoot 2 for 18 from the field and essentially cost the Knicks what would have been their first title in 21 years.

Apparently our screams were not pleasing to fetus Brett, and he too became agitated inside of Carey, and before long she was rubbing her stomach trying to calm him down while rightfully requesting that we tone it down a notch.  Drew, true to his easygoing nature, remained calm and amused through it all.  He was three at the time.  I actually don’t think it was our screaming that bothered Brett.  I think he too was furious at Starks for his performance.

 I’m actually quite thankful that Jeff grew up during that exciting and successful time, because when things turned south with the advent of the new century, he did not take it well.  Jeff was appalled at the blundering moves of Knicks’ President Isiah Thomas from the time he signed on in December 2003.  I, however, thought it was important back then to stay optimistic about the Knicks’ prospects, especially with young Brett, since I didn’t want him to jump ship and root for another team like the Nets, who were going through their own mini-golden era at the time.  But Jeff had no tolerance for my unfounded optimism, and he was intent on setting the record straight.  And so, on February 23rd, 2006, he sent me two links to extremely derogatory articles about the Knicks as part of the following email.  In the subject line, he wrote “Reality”.

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And just in case that wasn’t enough to convince me that the Knicks’ future was bleak, the very next day he sent me the following email for good measure, with two more articles:

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Throughout that decade, Jeff remained incredulous at the egregious things that regularly occurred in the sports world.  The Knicks’ woes were always part of his hit list.  On November 14, 2007, Jeff sent me an email from London where he was doing his semester abroad.  It was a classic Jeff Klein sports rant that belongs in the email Hall of Fame.  Not surprisingly, it included scathing criticism of the Knicks’ then current situation.  And Jeff included a sarcastic variation of the “Knicks 2000, this is our year” rally cry.

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The cruelest irony of all is that the Knicks that Jeff loved so much were a big part of his final days, and events related to them may have been the final straw that broke his spirit for good.

When Jeff was really down at the end of October 2010, I figured the best way to snap him out of his funk would be to go to the Knicks season home opener on Saturday night, October 30th against Portland.  All five of us were excited to start the new season at a game together.  Jeff also had a Halloween party that night in the Village, so it was perfect.  He’d come to the game with us, and we’d drive him downtown to his party afterward.

How could he not be excited about a Knicks game with his family and a Halloween party with his best friends after, right?  He even wore his policeman’s costume to the game.  To top it off, as I was driving us into the city that night, Jeff received an email informing him of his excellent LSAT score, and he was visibly proud of it.  I looked at his smiling face in the rearview mirror as he told us, and I was certain that things were clearly turning around in the right direction.

Except for the fact that the Knicks lost that night, everything else worked according to plan.  Jeff partied in the city, slept there and came home the next morning.  He was then all set to go to his next Knicks game on November 2nd with Brooke and Julie, using tickets from our half season plan that we buy every year.  Jeff was clearly excited to take them to their first NBA game and had planned to meet Brooke at the train station in Chappaqua to take the 4:40 train into the city, where they would meet up with Julie.

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But as I’ve shared here several times before, that game was called off when asbestos was found falling from the ceiling in the Garden that afternoon before the 7:30 tip-off.  Jeff was crushed and, given his state of mind at the time, seemed to place a much deeper meaning on what happened than was appropriate.  I explained that to him and offered him a choice of other sets of tickets for upcoming games over the next week or two.  Jeff said he would think about it but never got back to me on that.

On the night of November 8th, 2010, after having watched most of Monday Night Football with Jeff and while giving him a big hug goodnight, I told him the Knicks were playing the Bucks the next night and suggested that if he was around, maybe we could watch the game together.  He said, “Sure, sounds good,” and at that moment, I am 100% certain that he was not planning to end his life the next day.  But something snapped the next afternoon, and I never saw him again.

Of all the feelings and emotions that I’ve experienced over the past two years, the one that has surprised me the most has been the extent to which I fantasize about Jeff and about how I could have prevented this tragedy.  In my first post of this year (“Starting A New Year By Seeking A Do-Over Of The Past”, January 10, 2012, https://kleinsaucer.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/starting-a-new-year-by-seeking-a-do-over-of-the-past/), I shared some of those fantasies. I have fantasized in detail about how I could have come home early from work that day and found Jeff before he pulled out of the garage.  I would have then taken him over to Michaels, our favorite local sports bar, to watch the Knicks game over dinner and drinks.  I have further dreamed about how different the November 10th newspaper articles could have been if I had done that.

Mock newspaper headline

 However, now that I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that the outcome can’t be changed, I instead fantasize that maybe someday God will let Jeff come home for one weekend, just a Friday night to Sunday night, so we can hold him just one more time and to try to achieve some understanding of how things could have gone so wrong.  Drew and Brett could come home from school for that weekend to see him, and we’d all stay inside the entire time to preserve the secrecy of Jeff’s visit.  Maybe if Jeff can make this happen, we can all watch one more Knicks game on TV together.

In the meantime, while I wait patiently for that fantasy weekend with Jeff, the 2012-13 Knicks continue to sit in first place in the East and are playing like the true TEAM that Jeff had longed to see since Knicks 2000.  Say what you will about them being too old or that they shoot too many threes to sustain this success.  Neither concern is valid.  Thanks to modern fitness technology, 35-40 year old professional athletes today can perform at a much higher level than those of yesteryear, and as long as the Knicks’ marksmen don’t force up their threes, they will continue to make around 40%, which is a recipe for success in the NBA.

While I don’t think Knicks 2013 will be the season in which they win it all, I do think they will get to the finals.  And along the way, they will continue to thrill their fans, including Jeff, with their unselfish team play.  In fact, upon further reflection since my last post, I think that Jeff’s thumbs-up gesture to me above the clouds in Turks and Caicos may have been as much about how the Knicks are playing as anything else.  After all, they were a huge part of his life until the very end, and so there’s no reason to think that they aren’t just as important to him where he is now.  And Jeff was equally important to the Knicks, and in a loving gesture facilitated by his friend Evan Sahr just weeks after he died, they posted this message on their scoreboard.

jeff memorial scoreboard

I have already begun to share some great Knicks moments with Drew and Brett during their Christmas breaks from school.  Drew and I went to that amazing game against the Lakers last week, and he, Brett and I are going to the Nets game together on Wednesday.  I remain a blessed man.

Since December 6th, though, I still have not been able to get that pulsating music out of my head.  Go New York, Go New York, Go. But it just hit me that this vintage Knicks theme song is one of my connections to Jeff, and I never want it to go away.  So let the music play, and let the Knicks continue to roll.  For me, this is about more than just sports.  This is about my family continuing to find ways to fight back from the depths after the grave injustice that we suffered, and doing so in part by bonding together around a team that has been such an integral part of our lives for over two decades.  These Knicks have provided energy toward our healing process, just as the Giants did earlier this year.  And who knows how many other families in the hurricane-ravaged tri-state area feel just the same way for their own very personal reasons?

So please, when you watch or read about the Knicks, think of Jeff.  Remember his passion for the team and for basketball played the right way, and on his behalf, put your hands in the air and cheer.

Knicks 2000, forever our year.

-Rich Klein

 

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Stern’s Retirement Is Jeff’s Triumphant Moment

28 Oct

JEFF IS HOLDING THIS POSE IN HEAVEN NOW IN CELEBRATION OF DAVID STERN’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

When Jeff began his crusade in earnest, in the spring of 2009, to raise awareness of what he believed to be NBA Commissioner David Stern’s repeated manipulation of the playoffs, through directives given to his referees to ensure that his favored teams and superstars made the finals, I knew it was only a matter time before he wore his man down and caused him to step aside.  Yes, it all sounds very nice that Stern has decided to retire on the 30th anniversary of the day he started as Commissioner, but by all accounts, he is a healthy and vigorous man with a coveted job, and I believe he is simply burnt out by having to deal with the movement against him that Jeff began about 3 ½ years ago and that a multitude of NBA fans have carried on for him since Jeff’s tragic death.

Alex Feintuch wrote on Facebook that “This would literally be the happiest moment of Jeff’s life.” He may be right, because what separates Jeff from many of us is that he brought unparalleled soul and passion to the people and the causes that he cared about the most.  Putting an end to Stern’s alleged wrongdoings, for the purpose of restoring the NBA’s standing as a respected sports league, was one such cause.  The election of President Obama was another, and I’ve written about that in detail.  He was passionate too about his family and friends, and anyone who partied with Jeff over the years can attest to the passion he brought to those evenings.  As his friend Tarzan from London wrote in his blog post last year,

“he immediately became the go-to guy when somebody needed a pick-me-up, whether this meant chilling in his room and watching Entourage or a basketball match, or going out somewhere, anywhere, after a few American-sized shots of vodka at the kitchen counter…But more clearly than that, whenever I want to remember his voice in my head I can’t help hearing words of drive and encouragement – “Alright. Why not? Let’s do it.” We had many memorable nights out that would otherwise have been sitting by a laptop with the stench of the sewage-filled Ifor Evans corridors creeping into our rooms, if it wasn’t for Jeff.” (“Cawfee”, October 18, 2011)

The following emails and article excerpts written by Jeff document his 16 month impassioned crusade to ultimately achieve the Commissioner’s ouster, which finally came to fruition on Thursday.

May 27, 2009: “Here are some examples of espn.com posters responding to the state of officiating in the playoffs right now.  So you can continue to be naïve and think nothing is going on, but just know that there are plenty of people who think the exact same thing as I do.”

May 28, 2009: “Yea, they definitely choked, but it’s awfully hard to win when you’re fighting the other team, yourselves, and the refs at the same time. I hope the Magic close it out tonight, and if not tonight, home in Game 6, because we all know there’s no way the refs would ever let the Magic win game 7 on the road, especially if the Lakers have already clinched.”

May 28, 2009: “And I completely agree – if it’s not Lakers-Cavs, the league loses, which is why I can tolerate a Lakers win. Actually, the thing is, I think the league wants the Cavs even more, because LeBron is the up and coming star, and Stern wants him to be the face of the league. In other words, I think he would much rather have Nuggets-Cavs than Lakers-Magic, which is why it’s even more important that the Magic win. I really think they will, though – the Magic are the better team, and I don’t think he can get the Cavs into the finals without starting an outright scandal.”

June 8, 2009: “Read Bill Simmons’ latest column if you get the chance. Just when I was starting to think that the officiating might be somewhat fair in this series, Simmons points out the fallacy of that thinking.”

April 28, 2010: “What NBA commissioner David Stern has done over the past few years is package his brand as a game glorifying individuals at the expense of the team.  It’s all about the superstar.  It’s about LeBron’s breathtaking dunks.  It’s about Kobe’s schooling three defenders on a ridiculous fadeaway.  What it’s not about any longer is the team.  And that’s sad…because the last time I checked, basketball was a team sport.” (“Why I Don’t Want a Lakers-Cavs Finals…and Why You Shouldn’t Either”, www.jeffkleinsports.blogspot.com)

May 3, 2010: “There are enough of us who care, even as the majority of people in the U.S. continue to be complicit in this scandal. Back in the ’70s, most people thought Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were crazy when they came out with their initial accusations about Watergate.”

May 4, 2010: “Apparently David Stern wants LeBron to stay in Cleveland because it would “validate the spirit of the collective bargaining agreement.” This morning’s ESPN poll question is “Was David Stern out of line in voicing a preference for the outcome of LeBron James’ impending free agency?”

After Game 1, Doc Rivers sent 4 plays into the league to be reviewed. Asked which plays they were, he wouldn’t say because he said he was ‘scared to tell you which ones because I may get fined for it.’ Boss Stern at his finest.”

May 5, 2010: “That’s good news that LeBron seems certain to stay. But you know what’s great news? Last night David Stern was at the Magic game and before the game he went to center court to announce that the 2012 All-Star Game will be in Orlando’s new arena. And the crowd booed him heavily!!! (the writer of the article i’m reading thinks it’s because of all the bad foul calls that went against Dwight Howard in the first round). I’m so happy the Magic fans are recognizing how Stern is trying to screw them. Again, in a fairly reffed series, the Magic would beat the Cavs in 5 or 6.”

June 17, 2010: “I think the way the whole league operates—the tyrannical nature of its commissioner with regard to stifling criticism and doling out fines, the blatant star treatment, the lack of consistency and accountability among referees, the multitude of adoring fans who vicariously soak up all the glamor and glitz of a few players’ superstardom—is sickening.” (“Celtics-Lakers Game 7, www.jeffkleinsports.blogspot.com)

June 24, 2010: “You’d think that over time, the tendency would be toward reform as more and more people have caught onto the egregious way in which the league operates (type in “The NBA is” on Google and the first three terms that the search engine provides to complete the sentence are “fixed”, “rigged”, and “a joke”).”  (“Personal Foul: A Telling of a Corrupt Enterprise”, www.jeffkleinsports.blogspot.com)

September 24, 2010: “I’m not sure if this is more egregious or laughable (definitely some of both), but with each reign-tightening, dictatorial maneuver by Boss Stern, the NBA loses more and more credibility as a professional sports league to be taken seriously…But once again, Stern has erred badly here.  Look at how his league has been criticized by fans and players alike in the last couple of postseasons concerning the officiating.  Does he really think that this is just going to go away?  That ruling with an even more iron-clad fist is going to fix the league’s image and credibility problem?  News flash, Mr. Stern: this is just gonna make it worse.  Much worse.” (“Stern Tightens Dictatorial Hold on League”, www.jeffkleinsports.blogspot.com)

In the end, Jeff was right.  In his last blog post above, written just 46 days before all of his passion for life inexplicably flamed out and he cut out on all of us, he made it clear to Stern that the fallout from his egregious behavior would not just go away.  And it didn’t.  As Stephen Babb of The Bleacher Report wrote on October 25th, the day of Stern’s announcement,

“Once we get past the understandable elation surrounding the departure of an increasingly unpopular NBA commissioner, we probably owe David Stern a fair shake.  Barring any scandalous revelations confirming years of conspiratorial speculation, history will almost certainly judge Stern more kindly than we have…Stern’s dismissive attitude and heavy-handed reprisals against criticism earned him a reputation bordering on the tyrannical, and there was certainly truth to that perception.”

I have received nearly a dozen emails since last week’s post in which I shared Jeff’s article about the 2006 playoff elimination of the Yankees by the Tigers (“Hey Yanks, Be Happy Jeff’s Not The G.M.”), all of which noted how eerily relevant Jeff’s 2006 article was to the 2012 Yankees’ playoff flop.  And how similar the circumstances are.  In that article, Jeff called for the Yankees to trade Alex Rodriguez in light of his “chronic postseason failures”.  Today, in the aftermath of the Yankees’ 2012 playoff collapse, speculation is again rampant that such a trade may finally happen.  As usual, Jeff was way ahead of the curve.

So too with the David Stern situation.  Three and a half years after Jeff began his crusade to get rid of Stern, he finally got his man.  And just as Jeff noted that the Commissioner “packaged” the NBA as a game glorifying individuals at the expense of the team (see April 28th above), Stern has now packaged his retirement as a happy 30th anniversary party.  I guess that could be the case and perhaps appropriate for a 70 year old man, but I don’t buy it.

The movement that Jeff spawned only intensified after his death, as did the vitriol from NBA fans everywhere who resented Stern’s initial blocking of the Chris Paul trade and his role in last year’s NBA lockout.  I believe the pressure on Stern from those who called him out on his controlling behavior became unbearable, but rather than retiring now, he figured he could save face by announcing that it would be on his 30th anniversary.  Expect him to maintain a low profile until then in an attempt to somehow salvage his legacy

There are no words to describe the agony of my not being able to share this moment with Jeff, to not be able to receive a triumphant text from him on this occasion, and to not even be able to post on his Facebook page, as I was not a member when he was alive and am therefore not a Facebook “friend” of his.  There is some consolation, though, in knowing that for those closest to him, Jeff was the first person they thought of when they heard the news.  As Alex Feintuch posted, “Jeff was the first person/thing/thought in my mind when the news broke.”

And at the end of that day, doesn’t that say it all about Jeff’s own legacy?  When things happen in subject areas that Jeff was passionate about, people think of him first, and I believe they always will.  Just like Mike Philson did when he commented on my September 26th post on Jeff’s support of Obama by saying, “Jeff woulda been supporting the campaign in 2012.  No doubt I’ll think of him on election day.” And just like Dan Roberts did when he sent me a link about an egregious preseason call involving LeBron and posted on my wall this past Wednesday, “Jeff would have had a lot to say about this one.” These comments are the ultimate testaments to the joy and enthusiasm with which Jeff lived.

And to this day, that passion is what defines him and is what causes people to instantly think of him in relation to important sports and political topics.  I am very thankful for this, as it is a clear indication that he remains alive in so many peoples’ hearts and minds.  And as his father, that is part of what enables me to slowly heal—knowing that he may be physically gone but that his memory is anything but.  It is alive and vibrant, and even two years later, current events have his name and imprint all over them.  I still have the email I received almost 5 months after Jeff died from a former travel basketball teammate and friend of his.  He wrote,

“Although Jeff and I did not keep in touch after graduation, I would always think about his reactions to sports.  In fact, if there was ever a trade, upset, David Stern reading, etc., my brother and I would always say to each other, ‘wow, I can’t wait to see what Jeff posts on his blog or on facebook.”

Tragically, neither this young man nor anyone else will see any posts from Jeff regarding Stern’s retirement.  However, Drew and I, as well as some of Jeff’s friends, have done that for him.

And on behalf of Jeff, I say to David Stern: “good riddance”.  I hope the noise from the party going on in Heaven didn’t keep you awake at night this weekend.

-Rich Klein

The Celtics…In Overtime

25 Jul

“Red [Auerbach] wasn’t going to let that go in, you know that.  Not in Boston Garden.”

    – Doc Rivers on Dwyane Wade’s potential game winning shot in OT in Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals

 

I can’t really blame Doc for thinking it was Red Auerbach, the late legendary coach of the Celtics during their glory days in the 1950s and 60s, who caused Wade’s three point attempt for the win to rattle out as time expired in overtime of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on June 3rd.  After all, Doc had never met Jeff and was not aware of what had transpired that afternoon.  He, therefore, could not have known that it was Jeff’s influence, not Red’s, that protected the Celtics’ overtime win that night.

I wish I understood Jeff’s communication patterns better, because I had gotten very anxious about the fact that, other than a brief appearance in one of my dreams in September of last year, where he gave me the erroneous prediction that the Yankees would win it all, I had not received any direct contact from him for nine months.  Until Sunday June 3rd.

At 2:48 that afternoon, my friend and colleague Betsy Rath (who Jeff had interviewed with in 2007) sent me the email below asking me who I thought would win that night’s Celtics-Heat playoff game.  Betsy’s husband works for the Celtics.

I intentionally didn’t respond to her question immediately, since it seemed like a golden opportunity to reach out to Jeff and try to connect again.  Ever since he left, Jeff has chosen important sports moments as the catalysts that prompted him to make a connection with me.  And so I asked him out loud how he thought I should answer Betsy’s email. Then I waited.  And waited.

To my astonishment, at exactly 4:30pm, still hours before that night’s 8:30pm game, Jeff responded.  I was stunned to hear his voice in my ears again: “Tell her the Celtics will win in overtime.”  I was so taken aback that I immediately replied right back to him as if he was standing next to me: “Can’t I just tell her the Celtics will win?  Does it have to be that specific?”

Jeff shot back immediately, and this time he sounded annoyed.  “Tell her it will be in overtime,” he said.  “Ok, relax. I will,” I said.  That was all I needed to hear.  And so at 4:33pm, I emailed Betsy with the following message:

 

And then, I went about the rest of my day, certain that there was basically zero chance of the Celtics winning this game in overtime.  It was bold enough to think that this aging group could win another game against Lebron and Co. in any fashion.  I let Drew, Brett and Carey know what had happened.

As Drew and I later watched the Celtics completely pummel the Heat in the first half that night, stretching their lead to 18 points with three minutes left in the half, I laughed to myself over Jeff’s misguided prediction.  I said to Drew, “Man, Jeff had the right team, but what was that overtime thing all about?  He was so insistent about that.”  Drew shrugged.  I went upstairs at halftime to brief Carey on the blowout. 

But then in the third quarter, the Celtics went stone cold, Lebron started to take charge, and by the end of that period, the Celtics lead had shrunk to five.  At that moment, right before the start of the fourth quarter, it all became clear to me. “Tell her it will be in overtime,” he had insisted.  This was no fantasy.  I had heard his voice just as clearly as I had on August 13th, 2011 when he told me before it happened that Eric Chavez would walk, and Jorge Posada would follow with a grand slam homerun.  That’s exactly what happened then, and now, nearly 10 months later, this game was undoubtedly going to go into overtime.

I watched the fourth quarter in what I’d describe as an otherworldly state.  I was fully aware that the Heat comeback was continuing, but my mind was elsewhere, desperately trying to process the deeper meaning of all this.  When the final buzzer sounded with the game tied at 89, all I could think to do is run to Drew and embrace him, but he was already on his way toward me.  We hugged.  I looked at my phone, and it was 11:24pm.  At that split second, my blackberry buzzed.  It was Betsy, and her email was priceless:

Oh my, indeed.

Of course, the Celtics still needed to win in order for Jeff’s prediction to have been correct, but that was just a formality.  We knew the Heat had no chance. The exclamation mark on that point came when Lebron James remarkably fouled out for the first time since April of 2008, with 1:51 remaining in overtime.  That is something Jeff, when he was alive, would have contended David Stern would never let happen in the playoffs.  But now it did.  And with seconds remaining and the Heat down by two, Wade’s three point attempt did not go down, and the result was sealed:

The Celtics…In Overtime.

So many people I know who have lost loved ones have told me about their having had varying forms of communication with them after their physical deaths.  For those people and perhaps even others, this blog post will resonate and have real meaning.  For some, it might not.  Either way, I am simply reporting the facts about what happened on June 3rd to the loyal readers of this blog, and each individual can internalize those facts in his or her own way.  For me, the meaning is clear and profound, and it is exactly the same as what I expressed in my August 17th, 2011 post about the Chavez/Posada incident (https://kleinsaucer.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/my-precious-birthday-gift-from-heaven-2/).  And so I will share that meaning by closing with the exact words that I closed with then.

The kid is all right.

My precious son is ok.

 

-Rich Klein