Rick Barry Nearly Became a Pete Maravich or a Bill Walton With the Boston Celtics in the Early 1980s
The Boston Celtics could’ve had a slightly different look in the early 1980s if Rick Barry had gotten his wish. After the Celtics won the NBA championship in 1981, they were ousted in the postseason in 1982 and 1983 before returning to the 1984 NBA Finals.
Like Hall of Famers Pete Maravich and Bill Walton, Barry nearly pulled off the same move by playing the final part of his career in Boston. A simple rule change prevented it from happening.
Rick Barry was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987
Rick Barry played 14 seasons of professional basketball, eight of them coming with the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors. The 6-foot-7 forward was a 12-time All-Star and was named All-NBA in six seasons.
Barry was the fourth overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft, selected by the San Francisco Warriors. After being named Rookie of the Year, he led the NBA in scoring in his second season at 35.6 points per game. He led the Golden State Warriors to a championship during the 1974-75 season and was named MVP of the 1975 NBA Finals.
Known for shooting his foul shots underhanded, Barry led the NBA in free-throw percentage six times. For his NBA career, Barry finished with career averages of 23.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. He shot 44.9 % from the floor and 90.0% from the free-throw line.
Barry also played four seasons in the ABA, where he averaged 30.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Barry said he wanted to close out his career with the Celtics
In Larry Bird’s rookie season, Pete Maravich, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, joined the Celtics. His best days were behind him, but the Celtics took a shot with the five-time NBA All-Star. He played just 26 games for the Celtics before retiring the following season.
They did the same with Bill Walton for the 1985-86 season. Walton, however, played a vital role in Boston’s championship in 1986. The oft-injured center played 80 games off the bench and was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
Barry wanted to take the same route and play his final days in Boston, but the league made a change with the rosters, and Barry never played for the Celtics.
“I was going to play with the Celtics, but they cut the rosters back from 12 to 11 players,” Barry told Eric Jay Santos from Inside The Celtics. “That was what happened there. I was really looking forward to it.
“I probably could’ve played (for) two (or) three more years. It would’ve been great to go play with the Celtics like so many other players did. Bill Walton did it. Tiny Archibald did it. Look at the guys who went there later in their careers to do it, and I would’ve been able to do that. I would’ve been a backup to Bird and played with all those guys. It would’ve been fun.”
Barry said he reached out to the Celtics after growing frustrated with the Houston Rockets.
“I reached out to them because I wasn’t happy with what was happening in Houston,” Barry said. “I went there to go play with John Lucas, and they traded John. I have no idea why the hell Ray Patterson did that, that’s ridiculous. That should’ve been a team with a chance to win a freaking championship. It was the most talented team I’ve ever played on. It was a big misuse of talent.”