The story starts here, in the drug-infested, gang-ravaged projects of New York’s South Bronx, a place where bullets fly and dreams evaporate in near synchronous rhythm, a concert of violence that engulfs even the heartiest of souls and swallows them whole. It begins with a boy, painfully shy and wispy small, playing on the mean streets of the Patterson housing projects, gleefully dribbling a basketball, impervious to the dangers lurking on every corner. He is unable to explain his connection to that rubber orb, and only years later, after his hall-of-fame legacy has been cemented, can he give pause and appreciate it for its true value – a life raft in a sea of temptation, a vehicle that delivers him from the clutches of abject poverty. He shoots at the basket in the driving rain, too small to reach the rusting rim, too young to comprehend the vile graffiti sprayed onto the wall just beyond. He sprints under the noonday sun, dribbling hard and fast, his shoes barely touching the pavement, sweat racing down a face so boyish it takes decades for time to catch up. How many children, just like him, hear the drumbeat of the drug-pushers and succumb? How many of them grow old trying to escape? How many more sit in prison, a murder rap on their résumés, contemplating what might have been?
Archibald on teammate Scott Wedman:
Scott was a really good player. Those first couple of years he was kind of in the shadows in Kansas City, because he was a young guy just getting started and he wasn’t one of the focal points of the offense. But as time went on he became one of the team’s stars, and one of the better players in the league. He could shoot the lights out. Nobody in the league shot it any better. He was a role player when he went to Boston, which was a big change for him, but he really wanted to win a championship. He knew that he’d never take Larry Bird’s spot, and that his job would be to come off the bench and provide a spark on offense. That’s exactly what he did, and the Celtics won two championships with him on the roster.
Archibald on that classic comeback against the 76ers in the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals:
Nobody was giving up. There was no quit on that team. Philly was the team to beat, they had the big lead in the series, and we just kept playing as hard as we could. Larry told us to take one game at time, and we were able to focus on that. All of the games were very close, and very intense. Those last three games all went down to the wire, and they reminded me of the great Red Sox-Yankees series, with the Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win. People may forget this, but our best battles back then were against the 76ers. They had Doc [Julius Erving], Andrew Toney, Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones, Darryl Dawkins, Doug Collins, Steve Mix, Lionel Hollins, and Maurice Cheeks. Philly was loaded. We had to beat them just to get to the Finals and face the Houston Rockets. It was a great series, probably the best I’ve ever been involved in.