Oct. 27, 1997

As Rick Pitino prepared to walk through that door for his first regular-season game as head coach and self-promoting czar of the Boston Celtics, he worked at finalizing his roster.

He can thank Tommy Heinsohn for making one of his acquisitions a Celtics folk hero – one Walter McCarty, who came to town after one season with the Knicks. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound (more or less) forward became popular for his ceaseless hustle, inspiring Heinsohn’s heartfelt “I love Walter!” multiple times peer game over his eight seasons in Boston.

Opening night at the FleetCenter gave any fans who were wary of Pitino’s NBA bona fides cause for feeling optimistic – and relieved. The Celts beat Michael Jordan and the defending champion Chicago Bulls, 92-85.

It was all downhill from there. The Celtics finished 36-46.

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