The anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's death is May 16th. While his memory is with me every day, I try to avoid posting about him except on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death.
It probably doesn't make a lot of sense to those of you who are not NBA fans, but since Ronnie passed away, its sometimes tough for me to watch the playoffs.
In 1984, Ronnie learned that I was a basketball fan. 1984 was the first time the Lakers went up against the Celtics in the finals since 1966. Those were the classic contests between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. To this day, I can still remember most of the players' names on both teams.
Throughout the 1984 playoffs and beyond, I watched many basketball games with Ronnie and his friends. Ronnie gave a couple of my friends nicknames based on those games. Ronnie also gave the members of Hellion portable "watchman" TV's so we could check on the games and scores when we were at rehearsal or away from home.
For many reasons, including law school, I last spoke to Ronnie in about 2005. By that time the original Hellion line-up was long disbanded and the members were scattered around the US. I, however, always thought about him during the playoffs.
In 201, ironically the Lakers and Celtics were once again fighting for the championship. I called many of my friend about getting together to watch the games, but I had lost many peoples' numbers. And, the friends whose numbers I still had didn't answer my calls or return my messages. Others weren't interested.
Ronnie passed away during the middle of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. I didm't renew my season tickets or attend a game for a long time after that.
This year, even though the close friends that I used to watch NBA games with have moved away, passed away, or are no longer interested in the playoffs, I'm watching at home. And, once in a while when my team wins or does something special, I'll raise a toast to the TV in memory of Ronnie.