Q&A: Legends of Basketball as seen through the lens of Steve Lipofsky

April 29, 2012

Steve Lipofsky graciously provides the NBRPA with photos for use throughout LegendsofBasketball.com. Steve was the official photographer for the Boston Celtics for 23 years and was also photographer for the Boston Red Sox. His work has appeared in numerous publications throughout the world including Sports Illustrated, TIME, The New York Times and USA Today.

Steve is based in the Boston area and specializes in corporate, commercial and event photography. You can see his NBA photos at www.Lipofsky.com or www.BasketballPhoto.com. If you played in the NBA between 1981 and 2003, Steve will likely have photos of you.

All photos in this story, © Steve Lipofsky

Q: How many years have you been shooting NBA games?
Steve Lipofsky: I was the official photographer for the Boston Celtics from 1981 to 2003.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories in basketball?
Steve Lipofsky: When I think of my time with the Celtics, what stands out are the friendships and the personalities. Becoming friends with Red Auerbach and his family was a privilege. He was exactly the guy that you wanted him to be, like a favorite uncle ... gruff, but loving.

The players and the refs were a great bunch. One of the nice things about the Celtics, in particular is that got the see a lot of the former players on a regular basis. Listening to  great stories from guys like Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn and Bill Russell was priceless. Bob Cousy is the definition of class!

The Celtics games in the 1980s against the Philadelphia 76ers were probably the most exciting events that I ever attended. The atmosphere in the Boston Garden was electric. The respect that the Boston fans had for the Sixers and for Julius Erving in particular made for a wonderful atmosphere in the old Garden.

My single most exciting experience was probably the final game of the 1983 Eastern Conference Finals, Celtics vs Sixers, at the Boston Garden. When the Celtics fans realized that the game was out of reach and that Philly would face the Lakers in the NBA Finals, the crowd jumped to its feet and chanted “Beat L.A.” to Philadelphia as a sign of respect.

Q: Who are your favorite subjects to shoot?
Steve Lipofsky: Robert Parish was like a living statue. All you had to do was click the shutter and every photos of him looked like a classic.

Kevin McHale and Bill Walton were a lot of fun to be around off the court. Dennis Rodman was a joy to watch and to photograph.

Q: Do you think today’s players live up to the high standards set by their predecessors?
Steve Lipofsky: I'm not a critic of the game in the way some observers are. My appreciation of the game is very subjective. To me the players and teams were more interesting and had more personality in earlier eras. Today, because the need for talent is so great, players get star treatment at a younger age and it just naturally affects their attitude.

Q: Why have you chosen to support the NBRPA’s Legends of Basketball?
Steve Lipofsky: When I was photographing the NBA full time, it was important to me to get good photos of everyone on a team -- not just the superstars. As a result, I have thousands of photos of players that have never been seen and that the players, themselves are unaware of. LegendsofBasketball.com is a great place for me to show off photos of a wide range of players and reunite with old friends.

Q: What current projects are you working on?
Steve Lipofsky: Among a lot of other non basketball work, I'm producing videos based upon my NBA photos. I'm constantly responding to requests for photos for books, magazines and videos and I am working on a book about my time in the Boston Garden.

Q: How can our members and fans see more of your work?
Steve Lipofsky: Go to my web site www.Lipofsky.com (or www.BasketballPhoto.com if you don't feel like spelling Lipofsky). While there are thousands of photos there, it doesn't scratch the surface of what I have available, so I encourage people to email me at cavics@aol.com with requests.