Monday, October 17, 2011

NBA Lockout Alternatives for Celtics Fans

Jonesing for some basketball? Hungry for hoops?

Well, maybe not.

With the NBA in a lockout and the TD Garden's parquet floor locked up in storage, basketball fans (those who love the game like Rodney!) are going to have to be a little creative to get their fix, at least until college hoops starts up in a few weeks. Here are some ideas for Boston basketball fans:

Visit the game's birthplace. Get that Fastlane pass out and head west on the Mass Pike out to Springfield, where Dr. Naismith invented hoops and where you can visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Celtics certainly have their fair share of enshrinees. You could spend hours looking at the artifacts in the galleries, including Naismith's original rules of the game, confined to two simple typewritten pages. Afterwards, you can shoot some hoops on the hall's regulation court. While in Springfield, check out the new monument at the location of the first basketball game and the statue of Dr. Naismith with his peach basket at Springfield College.

Head to the Sports Museum. Closer to home, you can explore the history of the Celtics and New England basketball, at the Sports Museum. There are lots of exhibits on the Celtics dynasty years, including Larry Bird's locker, as well as an interesting exhibit on the evolution of women's basketball. Check out the gowns worn by the college players in the 1890s. Not exactly form fitting. Added bonus: the museum is located in the TD Garden, so you can peek inside and see the Celtics banners hanging from the rafters.

Get your Chuck Taylors on. Right around the corner from the Garden is Basketball City. Inside you'll find six full-length basketball courts with glass backboards and electronic scoreboards that are available for rental. You can also register for clinics and leagues.

Crack open a book. I've got a whole host of basketball books in my library that I still need to dig into: A Season on the Brink, A March to Madness, A Season Inside. But if you have felt that you haven't had time to dig into Bill Simmons' 752-page tome, The Book of Basketball, well, here's your chance.

Get your passport out. That's what some NBA players are doing. Rather than eating fried chicken and biscuits like Red Sox pitchers, they're staying in shape by playing in Europe. The Euroleague Basketball season kicked off October 17 with the blockbuster you've all been waiting for: Zalgiris vs. CSKA Moscow. Not inspired to buy a plane ticket to Russia? Then you can get a season pass to watch online for $93.

Get the popcorn out. How about a great basketball flick? No, not Teen Wolf. (Sorry, Boof.) Hoosiers! Hoosiers! Hoosiers!  Man, I love that movie. I could watch Hickory run the picket fence all day long. "Now boys, don't get caught watching the paint dry!"

Go old-school. Get those short shorts out. With the lockout, the NBA Network can't put on any programming with current players in it. So, in between showings of Teen Wolf (seriously, Boof) you're going to find plenty of Larry and the rest of the '80s Celtics. As I write this, the NBA Network is showing Bird v. Jordan in the '86 playoffs. And tonight: 6 PM Larry Bird's 50 Greatest Moments; 7 PM Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals; 9 PM Lakers/Celtics from the 1984 Finals. Oh, you're going to be out tonight? No problem, it all repeats starting at 11 PM. I'm sure you won't wait long for Teen Wolf to follow.

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