Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson and Greg Kite try to stay cool during Game 5 of the 1984 NBA Finals, when the temperature inside Boston Garden reached 98 degrees. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

June 8 in sports history: He's heating up!

Here's a look back at notable sports news on June 8 through the years:


1984: For those of us who loved "NBA Jam" growing up, the phrases “he’s heating up!” and “he’s on fire!” were somewhat literal in the game. Perhaps the creators were inspired by Game 5 of the 1984 Finals, where courtside temperatures reached 98 degrees at the old Boston Garden. Beantown was in the midst of an early-June heatwave, but the infamous old barn was not equipped with air conditioning to keep its patrons or players cool while inside.

Larry Bird must have been born without sweat glands because no one was better at the Garden that day. The iconic forward scored 34 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to pace the Celtics past the rival Los Angeles Lakers to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Larry Legend shot a blistering 15-of-20 from the field, which apparently wasn’t all that hard for him to do based on experience. "I play in this stuff all the time back home," he quipped with fondness of French Lick, Indiana. "It's like this all summer."

The Lakers, especially Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, seemed miserable. The oxygen tank on L.A.’s sideline did not help the NBA’s all-time scoring leader as he shot 7-of-25 from the field. The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan would catch him saying: "I suggest you go to the local steam bath with all your clothes on. First, try to do 100 pushups. Then run back and forth for 48 minutes."

Bird would have probably done 101 pushups just to show off.

CALIFORNIA … KNOWS HOW TO PARTY

1982: Magic Johnson’s "13s" — 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists — along with Jamaal Wilkes' 27 points helped the Lakers clinch title No. 8 in a 114-104 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson took home Finals MVP, averaging 16.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, eight assists and 2.5 steals in the six-game series.

2001: Same franchises, different players. Shaquille O’Neal blocked eight shots in the Lakers’ 98-97 Game 2 win, tying a Finals record set by Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Walton.

2018: The Golden State Warriors capped off a four-game Finals sweep of the mostly listless Cleveland Cavaliers with a 108-85 win. In helping the Dubs win their third crown in four years, Kevin Durant was named Finals MVP.

THE FRENCHIES

2002: Serena Williams defeated her greatest rival, big sister Venus, for her first French Open single’s crown, 7-5, 6-3.

2008: With a straight-sets win over Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal takes his fourth straight French Open title, tying Bjorn Borg for most consecutive in the Open era.

2013: Serena beats her so-called rival, Maria Sharapova for her second singles title at Roland Garros, 6-4, 6-4.

2014: Nadal dominates Paris’ red clay again as his win over Novak Djokovic gave him nine French Open championships, and put him in a tie with Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam titles.

GETTIN’ LUCKY

1955: Tommy Lasorda was a great Dodger, though not exactly as a player. The eventual Hall of Fame manager was a Brooklyn Bum very briefly, with one infamous start as a pitcher where he threw three wild pitches and got spiked. On this day, his playing days with the team ended when he was optioned back to Montreal. That move created a spot for the wiry, but live arm of Sandy Koufax.

“That guy couldn't hit a barn door from 50 feet and I won 20 games down there,” Lasorda told MLB.com in 2005. “So truthfully I can say that it took the greatest left-hander in the history of the game to replace me.”

1961: The Milwaukee Braves made history as the first team to hit four home runs in four consecutive at-bats — and they were all dramatic. Down 10-3 in the 7th inning against Cincinnati, Eddie Matthews hit a two-run shot off Jim Maloney. Henry Aaron followed with a solo shot. The Reds pulled Maloney for Marshall Bridges, who proceeded to let Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas (not the Nugenix guy) blast off solo homers of their own. Matthews knocked another HR in the eighth, but Cincinnati still won, 10-8.

Eight teams have gone back-to-back-to-back-to-back since.

1969: On “Mickey Mantle Day,” the great slugger gave his farewell speech in front of a packed house of over 60,000 at Yankee Stadium. Mantle announced his retirement three months earlier.

1977: The California Angels’ Nolan Ryan struck out 19 batters in 10 innings en route to a 2-1 win over Cleveland. It was the fifth (and last time) he struck out 18 or more hitters in a game, all as an Angel. Unbelievable, even by today’s standards.

ALL-NO

1991:  Former All-Pro defensive end Mark Gastineau made a successful boxing debut against pro wrestler Derrick Dukes. Well, too successful. Gastineau needed only 12 seconds to knock out Dukes. Gastineau's last fight was a loss to another NFL player-turned-boxer, Alonzo Highsmith.

Happy Birthday...


Happy 44th birthday, Lindsay Davenport. Robert Deutsch-USATODAY

  • NFL executive vice president, Troy Vincent, five-time Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner. Vincent was a first-round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins in 1992 and also played for Philadelphia, Buffalo and Washington over his 16-year career. He co-led the league in interceptions in 1999. (50)
  • Fiery former baseball manager John Gibbons, two-time skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays known for heated confrontations with players. He was tossed from games seven times in 2018. Gibbons won a World Series as a catcher with the Mets in 1986. (58)
  • Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons, chosen in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. Simons was drafted right out of high school. (21)
  • Phil Bourque, two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bourque currently does color commentary for Penguins games and is recognized by his nickname, the “Ol’ Two-Niner.” He is a cousin of NHL great Ray Bourque. (58)
  • Former No. 1 ranked tennis star Lindsay Davenport. The 6-foot-3 Hall of Famer is an Olympic gold medalist and winner of a U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. (44)

R.I.P.

1982: Legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. The right-hander, who is said to have pitched hundreds of games in the Negro Leagues, became the oldest rookie in MLB, at 42, pitching to a 6-1 record. Paige was the first African American to pitch in a World Series game. He died just shy of his 76th birthday.

2018: Tennis champ Maria Bueno, who won seven Grand Slams. The Brazilian won 19 major titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world four times. She is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Bueno died of cancer at age 78.


June 7: Wes is more

Jason Clinkscales is the editor-in-chief and media analyst for The Sports Fan Journal, senior editor for Yardbarker, and a masochistic New York Knicks fan. Follow Jason on Twitter at @asportsscribe.

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