Wu places her Finals bet with Dallas mayor, while Healey demurs on wager with Governor Abbott

Article by Diti Kohli and Samantha J. Gross Globe Staff

If Boston wins, we’re owed plenty of barbecue. If the title goes to Dallas, so will 18 gallons of clam chowder.

(Boston, MA 6/5/24) Mayor Michelle Wu and Legal Sea Foods President and CEO Matt King put together a friendly Celtics wager with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

It’s lobster rolls vs. barbecue.

In her first official sports bet from City Hall, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu wagered loads of food on a Celtics championship victory with her counterpart in Dallas.

Should the Mavericks prevail, Wu will send Dallas Mayor Eric L. Johnson 18 gallons of clam chowder and 18 pounds of lobster rolls from Legal Sea Foods, plus cookies and brownies from Sweet Teez Bakeryin Dorchester.

But if Celtics secure the trophy, we’re owed barbecue — a whole brisket, a rack of beef ribs, and a dozen sausage links — from Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum.

The friendly political wager is a long-standing tradition between leaders representing two states or cities, including politicians in Massachusetts — both Democrats and Republicans.

“The stakes are quite exciting on their own,” Wu said. “But I feel really good about this team and proud of the city for coming together. This is an incredible opportunity to highlight the talent on our entrepreneurial side, in addition to our team.”

Happy to be in on the friendly wager, Matt King, president of Legal Sea Foods, hopes he never has to pay up.

“It’s 18 gallons of chowder because it would be 18th Celtics championship,” King said. “But we’re intending not to send anything to Texas.”

Sweet Teez founder Teresa Maynard agreed. Sure, she will whip up hundreds of treats if Luka Doncic leads the Mavericks to victory. But as a Dorchester native and staunch Celtics fan, Maynard hopes the flour can stay in the cupboard.

“I don’t want to send Dallas anything but a box of crumbs,” she said. “It’s one order I hope I don’t have to fill.”

The bet is something of a routine for Johnson. The Texan promised to send local Dallas-made desserts to Minneapolis, if the Minnesota Timberwolves had bested the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals (they did not). He also has a new mountain-themed belt buckle sent by Denver Mayor Mike Johnston after the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the NHL Playoffs.

While Wu is making her first such wager since taking office amid Boston’s current title drought, Governor Maura Healey appears to be demurring.

Her office has announced no such bet with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican. That’s a shift from just last week when she entered into one with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz when Boston’s Professional Women’s Hockey League team faced Minnesota for the league championship. Minnesota won, and Healey donned their purple jersey.

Healey and Abbott, however, don’t align politically. In fact, they have a more antagonistic relationship than most.

Last June, Healey paid for six LGBTQ pride billboards around Texas, where the governor had signed a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills into law. In response to the Texas federal court decision that blocked the FDA’s approval of the abortion medication mifepristone, Healey protected access to medication abortion in the state.

For her part, Wu refuses to think negative thoughts. She pointed to the Celtics’ home record and suite of proven players — “Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown now really anchoring the team,” “powerhouse” Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday, “a godsend for Boston.”

“This is a team that is beloved, not just for their incredible performance on the court, but also for who they are and how dedicated they are to community,” Wu added. “We all just want Al [Hortford] to get his ring.”

Diti Kohli can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her @ditikohli_. Samantha J. Gross can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her @samanthajgross.

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