Ever since I was a teenager living in Revere, Mass., I have fanatically rooted for the Boston Celtics basketball team. Yesterday, as I was leaving Longs Drugs in Waikiki, I noticed a young man wearing a Celtics T-shirt. I shouted out to him: “Yay Celtics.” He responded, “Go Celtics.”
This uplifting exchange reminded me of the days when I faithfully, sometimes fretfully, sometimes, exuberantly listened to all of the Celtics games broadcast on the radio. But whether the Celtics won or lost, Johnny Most, the riveting, melodramatic over-the-top Boston announcer, was a hoot. Passionately pro-Celtics, he would rant against the refs when they made a horrendous call against the Celtics, righteously insisting that the dirt-bag opposing player had obviously committed the egregious foul. Johnny Most was notorious for disparaging even the greatest stars from other teams: He invariably called them whiners and brutes. When the Celtics unleashed their celebrated fast break and scored, Most would scream in his patented raspy voice, “Swish.” To Johnny Most, every Celtic was an epic hero jousting with the opposition and usually triumphing over them. Johnny Most thrilled me with his rat-a-tat, non-stop play-by-play, whether he was belligerently against visiting teams or rapturously for the Celtics.
For a host of reasons, I will always cherish my time with Johnny Most.