The term "Destrucity" isn't just a word that was made up by the very, very insane Ultimate Warrior...it's what's happened to the Boston Celtics. Some people might date the Celtics' downfall to July 27, 1993 -- when Reggie Lewis passed away -- but the seeds of Destrucity were sown exactly 20 years ago, and they continue to bear evil fruit.

The following is part one of a timeline that describes the rotten luck and bad decisions that have turned the league's most storied franchise into a yearly embarrassment:

1986-87: Len Bias dies. Scott Wedman has off-season heal surgery and plays only six games. Bill Walton breaks his foot riding a stationary bike during the off-season and plays only 10 games. Kevin McHale has an MVP-caliber season before breaking his foot in March; he continues to play but is never again the same player. Robert Parish repeatedly sprains both ankles and suffers from tendonitis in his right elbow that's so bad he can't even make a fist. Larry Bird's back and right elbow continue to bother him. Dennis Johnson ages 17 years during the off-season. The Celtics' "bench" is reduced to Jerry Sichting and Greg Kite. Seriously. The Celtics finish with a record of 59-23, failing to win 60 games for the first time since 1982-83 and for only the second time in the Bird Era. They reach the NBA Finals by playing their starters 40 minutes per game, but ultimately surrender their title to the Lakers.

1987-88: Kevin McHale misses 19 games as he recovers from off-season foot surgery. Larry Bird injures both Achilles tendons only seven games into the season and never fully recovers. Bird also fractures his zygomatic arch, which causes his eye to pop out in the shower after the game in which the injury occurred. Dennis Johnson ages another eight years during the off-season. The "bench" features such stalwarts as the Mark Acres, Darren Daye, Brad Lohaus, and Fred Roberts. Things get so bad that the Celtics sign the now-ancient Artis Gilmore and trade for Jim Paxson (about four years past his "sell by" date). Reggie Lewis is a promising rookie, but K.C. Jones refuses to play him. Bird carries the team by playing 40 MPG and scoring 29.9 PPG on 53 percent shooting. The C’s win 57 games but fall to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals because their starters are exhausted*. K.C. Jones "retires."

*The Celtics held 4th quarter leads in all four games they lost.

1988-89: Jimmy Rogers becomes head coach. Larry Bird plays only six games before having season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from both Achilles tendons. Dennis Johnson is officially running on fumes. Danny Ainge is traded for "Easy" Ed Pinckney and Joe "The Human Victory Cigar" Kleine. The Celtics win 42 games and sneak into the playoffs before getting swept in the first round by the eventual champion Detroit Pistons.

1989-90: The Celtics draft Michael Smith instead of Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, B.J. Armstrong, Vlade Divac, Sherman Douglas (whom they will later trade for), or Cliff Robinson. Brian Shaw stages a contract holdout and leaves the Celtics to play with the Itialian team, Il Messaggero Roma. Larry Bird returns from his dual-Achilles surgery, but he injures his back when Michael Jordan undercuts and then falls on him in the Kenny Rogers Charity Basketball Tournament in Kentucky*. Dennis Johnson's corpse is now running (or, rather, walking) the Celtics' offense. Jimmy Rodgers tries to implement a "spread the wealth" offense and seemingly feuds with Bird (although both deny it). The team wins 52 games but fails to win the Atlantic Division. They are upset by the New York Knicks in the first round. Jimmy Rogers is fired.

*According to his second autobiography, Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching The Game I Love, Bird said: "We were in the final minutes of this charity basketball game when I went up for a rebound and came down a little sideways. Michael Jordan was going for the ball too, and he landed on my back. Right away I knew I was in trouble. I had torn additional portions of the disc wall, and my back was really traumatized. I didn't know it then, all the way back in 1989, but that was the beginning of the end…I never came all the way back." Yet another reason I hate Michael Jordan.

1990-91: Dave Gavitt is named the Celtics' new CEO. Gavitt hires Chris Ford as coach and remakes the team by cutting Dennis Johnson (who then "retires"), persuading Brian Shaw to leave Italy and return to the Celtics, and convincing Red Auerbach to draft Dee Brown instead of Dwayne Schintzius (although the C's do pass up guys like Elden Campbell, Cedric Ceballos, and Antonio Davis). The Celtics blast out of the gates en route to a 29-5 start. But then Bird's back goes out and he misses 22 games. Shortly after Bird returns, McHale badly sprains an ankle and misses 14 games. Neither player ever fully recovers. The Celtics do manage to win 56 games, but they get pushed hard in the first round by the Indiana Pacers and then fall to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

1991-92: Larry Bird undergoes off-season back surgery. Dee Brown injures his knee and misses 51 games. Brian Shaw undercuts Bird in practice, re-injuring the Legend's troublesome back and causing him to miss 37 games. Ten games later, Shaw is traded to the Miami Heat for Sherman Douglas, who, as it turns out, sucks. McHale tears a calf muscle and misses 26 games. The Celtics' point guard situation becomes so dire that John Bagley becomes the starter. Somehow the team manages to win 51 games and take the Atlantic Division title away from the Knicks. They sweep the pacers in round one but fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.

1992-93: Larry Bird retires. The Celtics sign Xavier McDaniel and find out that the X-Man does not equal Larry Bird. Kevin McHale ages dramatically. Reggie Lewis discovers it's a lot harder to be The Man than he ever could have imagined. However, the team remains relatively healthy and manages to win 48 games. Then Reggie Lewis collapses on the court during Game 1 of the Celtics' first round series against the Charlotte Hornets. Without Lewis, the Celtics lose the next three games despite a couple "turn back the clock" performances by McHale. The Hornets win their first ever playoff series...against the Celtics.

1993-94: Kevin McHale retires. Reggie Lewis dies. The Celtics draft Acie Earl to replace McHale and eventually succeed Robert Parish. In the process they fail to draft players such as Sam Cassell, Nick Van Exel, and Bryon Russell. They even could have had Gheorghe Muresan. The team finishes 32-50 and fails to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1978-79...the year before Larry Bird’s rookie season.

1994-95: The Celtics fire Dave Gavitt and M.L. Carr becomes the Celtics' General Manager. He drafts Eric Montross to replace Acie Earl, who, as it turns out, sucks. In doing so, he passes up Eddie Jones, Jalen Rose, Yinka Dare (kidding!!), and Voshon Lenard. To make matters worse, he chooses to let Robert Parish leave the team as a free agent in order to sign a washed up Dominique Wilkins and "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison. The team finishes with a record of 35-47 yet somehow qualifies for the playoffs, where they are pounded into submission by Shaq and the NBA Finals-bound Orlando Magic.

1995-96: The Celtics adopt the Fleet Center as their new home and the Boston Garden is razed. M.L. Carr fires Chris Ford and names himself the new head coach. He then drafts Eric Williams instead of Theo Ratliff, Michael Finley, Travis Best, or Greg Ostertag (kidding...sort of). The Celtics feature a starting lineup of Rick Fox, Dino Radja, Eric Montross, Dana Barros, and David Wesley. The one bright spot is that Radja develops into an "almost 20/10" guy by averaging 19.7 PPG and 9.8 RPG while shooting over 50 percent. However, the team wins win only 33 games and fails to make the playoffs.

1996-97: The Celtics draft "Employee Number 8" Antoine Walker, passing up Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Jermaine O’Neal. Dino Radja suffers a mysterious ankle injury, misses 57 games, and never plays for the Celtics again. Walker shows some promise but the team is comprised of -- at best -- a group of secondary players: Eric Williams, Rick "I will one day get bitchslapped by Doug Christie" Fox, David Wesley, and Todd Day. They finish 15-67 -- the worst record in team history -- to become the front-runner in the "Tim Duncan Sweepstakes."

1997-98: M.L. Carr "steps aside" as the Celtics break the bank to hire legendary college coach Rick Pitino, who is named Front Office Manager and Head Coach. Pitino even steals the title of "Team President" away from Red Auerbach, who becomes the "Vice Chairman of the Board." Thanks to their worst-in-the-league record and a trade that sent Eric Montross to Dallas in exchange for the Mavericks’ first round pick, the Celtics have not one but two lottery picks. However, San Antonio (who finished the previous season with only 20 wins) gets the number one pick and happily drafts Tim Duncan. The painfully disappointed Celtics draft Chauncy Billups and Ron Mercer with the third and sixth picks in what turns out to be a very thin draft. However, the future all-star and NBA Finals MVP Billups plays in only 51 games before being traded to the Toronto Raptors. David Wesley and Rick Fox are released, and Eric Williams is traded to the Denver Nuggets. Antoine Walker goes off for 22 and 10 a game, but the team wins only 36 games and once again fails to make the playoffs.

Next: Part 2.

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