Skip to content

Gerald Henderson calls his steal in ’84 Finals greatest play in Celtics history

Sep 19, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT

The Boston Celtics are one of the league’s most storied franchises, so any conversation that tries to identify the single greatest play in the team’s history is ultimately an exercise in futility, with the point being that there are far too many moments of greatness for there to be one that transcends all others.

But Gerald Henderson of the ’84 Celtics team that beat the Lakers in seven games to win a championship has a legitimate argument that his defensive play in Game 2 of that series should be included in the conversation.

The video clip above shows Henderson’s brilliance — Boston, already down a game in the series, was trailing by two points near the end of regulation. A loss would mean heading back to L.A. trailing 2-0, and the task of coming back would have been a daunting one.

Henderson, however, stole a pass from Magic Johnson in the back court, and laid it in with 13 seconds remaining to tie things up. The Celtics ended up winning in overtime, after a stunned Magic inexplicably dribbled the clock out as time expired in regulation.

Henderson is not shy about his accomplishment, and feels it should be recognized as the top play in the history of the franchise.

From Jay King of MassLive.com:

During a video message to John Karalis from the Celtics blog Red’s Army — who, during a recent post to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Larry Bird’s steal against the Detroit Pistons, labeled Bird’s theft “the best play in Celtics history” — Henderson suggested his own famous steal should be rated No. 1.

“Not too long ago, you called Larry Bird’s steal against the Pistons in ’87 the best play in Celtics history. Well, as you know, that’s not true,” said Henderson. “It was one of them. It was a fantastic play by The Legend, but you forget about my steal in Game 2 of the ’84 Finals. The Lakers were so stunned that Magic (Johnson) — Tragic Magic at the time — he ran out the final play, dribble, dribble, dribble.”

Bird’s steal against the Pistons will remain one of the team’s great plays, simply because it similarly saved the Celtics in a series where they appeared ready to fall behind by an insurmountable margin.

But Henderson has a point, because while Boston beat the Pistons in ’87 and made it to the Finals, they eventually lost to the Lakers. His play, however, helped guide his team to one of its 17 NBA titles.

Latest Posts
  1. Magic guarantee Dewayne Dedmon’s contract

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Orlando keeps backup center on minimum contract

  2. With Nikola Pekovic still hurt, Flip Saunders says Karl-Anthony Towns could start. Or Gorgui Dieng.

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwu3mmzjztazntu1ogzhywnkzju2otmyzgnloty5otbl1 AP

    Saunders has a versatile front line, but does he have enough shooting to give them room to operate?

  3. Michael Jordan (and a kid) beat Jimmy Butler in shooting contest (VIDEO)

    Aug 2, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT

    Jordan will gloat about this to Butler for years.

  4. Mavericks officially sign Summer League standout, No. 21 pick Justin Anderson

    Aug 2, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    It’s a standard rookie contract for a first-round pick.

  5. Former NBA All-Star Bob Kauffman dies at age 69

    Aug 2, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Spaulding NBA basketball Getty Images

    He was a star with the Buffalo Braves (the franchise that is now the L.A. Clippers).

  6. Giannis Antetokounmpo was confused when Anthony Davis talked smack, called him “kid”

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks Getty Images

    “Dude, what are you talking about? You’re only a year older than me!” — Giannis Antetokounmpo on Anthony Davis calling him “kid.”

  7. Jahlil Okafor helps one kid dunk, brutally blocks another (VIDEO)

    Aug 2, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Jahlil Okafor Jahlil Okafor

    Okafor is getting acquainted with his young fans in Philadelphia.

  8. Clippers waive Jordan Hamilton

    Aug 1, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Jordan Hamilton Jordan Hamilton

    Hamilton played 14 games with the Clippers last season.

  9. Gregg Popovich expects Tim Duncan to play the “same boring game” as usual

    Aug 1, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich

    That would be good news for the Spurs and bad news for the rest of the Western Conference.

  10. Report: Chris Paul to attend Team USA minicamp

    Aug 1, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Chris Paul, Ray McCallum Chris Paul, Ray McCallum

    Paul is still in the running for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (2222)
  2. L. James (1590)
  3. T. Thompson (1476)
  4. J. Smith (1347)
  5. M. Miller (1326)
  1. J. Thompson (1325)
  2. P. George (1300)
  3. N. Young (1260)
  4. B. Haywood (1259)
  5. I. Thomas (1251)