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Kevin McHale learned of Danny Ainge’s trade from a stranger at the supermarket: “He said for two guys he never heard of”

McHale revealed the unusual circumstances of discovering the unsettling news.


Sometimes, news can arrive at the most unexpected times, and Kevin McHale experienced just that in 1989. Back then, the power forward was casually strolling through a supermarket when he unexpectedly found himself in a conversation with a random shopper.


From this encounter, the ‘Black Hole,’ right between the aisles, would learn something rather unsettling about his long-time Boston Celtics teammate Danny Ainge.


“A guy said he’d been traded, and I said, ‘For who?’ And he said, ‘For two guys he never heard of,'” recounted McHale, per the ‘Chicago Tribune.’


The McHale-Ainge connection

McHale and Ainge had some similarities in their careers. Both were selected by the C’s in the early 80s and had to work hard to earn their place on the team. Kevin, a first-round pick in 1981, had an easier start and quickly established himself as a vital cog coming off the bench.



On the other hand, Danny, a late second-round pick in 1982, had a rough beginning, with McHale once recalling that coach Bill Fitch ‘killed’ him during his rookie season.



The duo became great friends, often good for a laugh, and connected on the court through their resilient and determined mindset. Ainge soon molded himself to become the starting guard for the team, with the ‘Black Hole’ joining the lineup after earning two 6MOY awards. They each contributed in their own way to two championship titles in 1984 and 1986.



Ainge’s trade shocker

The legendary team aimed for their fourth ring of the decade, led by Hall of Famer Larry Bird, but their unwavering determination arguably led to reckless play. During their 1987 playoff run, Ainge, McHale, Robert Parish, and Bill Walton sometimes played injured. Ultimately, the weakened C’s fell short against the Lakers in the Finals.


After the loss, the public soon suggested the arguably aging roster needed a reshuffle. Ainge, who became a respected GM after his playing career, agreed with that sentiment. In fact, he once even mentioned that the Celtics should have traded McHale in 1988.


Ironically, fate had other plans as it struck Ainge himself a year later, as recalled by his buddy McHale after that

fateful supermarket visit.

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