Up until last week, when Ted Leonsis reminded me in an e-mail, that I was the only person in the area with a championship ring, I hadn’t really thought of myself in this way.
Did that make me special….or the ring?
I think it’s the ring.
Of course, I am lucky to have it for many reasons.
One reason: the memories it brings to mind. Particularly, memories of the season leading up to the final game. Everything had to come together perfectly, and it did in 1978. We peaked at the right time and we were fairly healthy coming into the Finals. And, as we found out during other seasons, at any moment, things can fall apart, especially with injuries.
But, really there is a lot of magic involved and we had several examples of “magic” that year: the “Fat Lady” that Dick Motta introduced, who stuck by us all the way; Abe’s lucky tie that I guarded with my life — no cleaners allowed to touch it. And General Manager Jerry Sachs’ life was in danger if he forgot the M&M’s! As for me, I wouldn’t have one hair cut off of my head until the final buzzer of that Championship game.
Did we think we would really do it? Practically, all of us almost stopped breathing; from game to game as the season moved along. We almost stopped speaking to each other for fear of saying the wrong word. We all just continued to move from game to game like robots; turning off our feelings as much as possible.
I would say the ring had our number on it that year. Everything went right for the first time in fifteen years, an almost impossible situation.
Abe never took that ring off of his finger from that moment on (even though it was too big for his hand.) Still, when Ted Leonsis invited me to represent the Wizards at the 2010 NBA Lottery, I took that ring out of the drawer and wore it to the ceremony.
And it still generated magic….we have John Wall to prove it!