Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 5/4/12
Happy Friday, and happy NBA Appreciation Day, everyone!  I wish I could find the time to make these posts more often, but they always get put on the back burner.  Anyway, Walter McCarty.  If you’re a member of generation Y who grew up in Celtics territory then you probably have fond memories of his three-point stroke.  Well, maybe it was more the way Tommy Heinsohn felt about McCarty and his three-point stroke than it was his actual three-point stroke… but whatever.  Either way, we all loved Waltah!

I can still recall being a young middle schooler attending my second NBA game.  I couldn’t tell you who the Celtics played that night, or what the score was, but what I can tell you is that Walter McCarty was one cool cat.

After the game, in search of a way to kill time until the train was set to leave Boston for Portland, Maine, my father and I wandered aimlessly outside of the Garden.  We came across a gathering of people around a break in the fencing.  We stopped to see what all the commotion was about and soon realized that we’d found the spot where the Celtics would roll out in their Escalades and BMWs.  Being a fifth or sixth grader from a small town in a rural state where exotic vehicles are as rare as the rich and famous people who drive them, I obviously wanted to stick around.  It was cold, but my dad agreed.

An hour later, maybe, I’d watched several kids nearly get run over as they chased Ricky Davis’s SUV down the street… but I’d seen no player stop, or even roll down his window.  I recall feeling a little disappointed by the lack of attention paid to the fans, but hey, at least I’d seen a hell of an auto show.  Finally, I agreed to leave.  Only one other kid, probably about my same age, had stuck around as long in hopes of an autograph.  He too was with his father, waiting with a pen and a notepad.

Just before I turned to walk away, the kid with the notepad handed a pen into the window of a white Mercedes.  I walked up alongside him to get a closer look and first noticed the chrome lettering on the fender of the vehicle.  “V12,” it read.  After wiping the drool from my lips, I peered into the window and immediately recognized the 6’10 forward in a tan-colored suit.  It was none other than Walter McCarty–the last player to leave, but the first to stop.  The only paper article I possessed was a brown stadium napkin, and although it felt kind of silly, I handed it to him anyway.  He signed it with a Sharpie, handed it back, and away he went.  I can’t remember whether or not I thanked him–I was probably too awestruck to eke out a word of gratitude–but I certainly hope I managed.  I’m forever grateful to Walter for providing me with one of those amazing childhood memories that I’ll carry forever.  As simple as it was, the event was certainly one that led to my love of the game of basketball.

I’ve got boatloads of NBA-related collectibles–boxes of cards, autographed jerseys, game-worn shoes–but my Walter McCarty napkin holds more significance than most of the others.  I’m sure it isn’t “worth” 10 cents, but I wouldn’t sell it for a thousand dollars.

Thank you, Waltah!

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