"Yeah," said Brown slyly, "about three days too late, though." (Kemp had been the runner-up in the slam-dunk contest.)
Spirits were high as the Celtics boarded a bus on Feb. 13, the day before Game 2 of the trip, against the Golden State Warriors, for a workout at the University of San Francisco. The $20,000 Brown earned for winning the slam-dunk contest had become the hottest subject of conversation.
"Dee, you get that money yet?" Parish shouted at him as Brown made his way down the aisle. Whether the Celtics were bound for practices or games, Chief, as Parish is known, was customarily in his seat, all the way in the back, at least 10 minutes before anyone else. Generally, he sat quietly, but if he saw someone he wanted to rib, he was in prime position to do so.
"No, not yet," said Dee. "I think they might have sent the check back home."
"Sheet," Bird said. "I always made sure I got mine. Pick it up right there, so they don't go sendin' it someplace else."
"Well, I'm gonna call home today, see if it got there," said Brown.
"Uh-oh," said Chief. "Check went home. Check went to the crib. Call off that party, boys, check went to the crib. It's over. Done. Spent."
Up in the front of the bus, meanwhile, Lebeaux was in trouble again—the driver was having a hard time finding his way through the confusing streets of San Francisco.
"Wayne, oh, Wayne," shouted Bird. "I think I've seen every part of San Francisco. Is this a guided tour we're on, or we goin' to practice?"
Finally, Shaw, a native of nearby Oakland, went up and directed the driver to the gym. Lebeaux's face was red.