NBA Trivia: Boston Celtics

By Lorenzo Tanos

The Boston Celtics are, as of the 2012 season, the most titled NBA team, having won 17 championships, including 10 between 1957 and 1969. They have won 21 conference titles, 21 division titles and 21 numbers and names – yes, names – have been retired. There’s no denying this team’s success and in the area of trivia, there are a lot of questions one can think of regarding the Celtics. Here are some of the more interesting and comparatively obscure facts on the Celtics’ players, coaches and draftees.

1. What was the other piece of the 1956 “trade” with Rochester that allowed the Boston Celtics to draft Bill Russell?

Unquestionably, Russell was the prize of the 1956 NBA Draft, but the Celtics had the #2 pick and the Rochester Royals (the future Sacramento Kings) had #1. Celtics owner Walter Brown “traded” the Ice Capades tour to Rochester in exchange for their approval to pick somebody else at first overall. As a result, the Royals selected Duquesne guard Sihugo Green, who ironically played for the Celtics in 1964-65, his last NBA season.

2. Which Celtic has a nickname, instead of a number retired by the team?

Jim Loscutoff. “Jungle Jim”’s #18 jersey was supposed to be retired by the Celtics, but he still wanted other Celtics to wear the number in the future. The Celtics retired Loscutoff’s nickname of “Loscy” instead, thus allowing the burly 6’5” enforcer to remain honored as one of the key members of the ‘50s and ‘60s Celtics dynasty.

3. What do Nate Archibald, Bob McAdoo and Sidney Wicks have in common as Boston Celtics?

Archibald (former scoring and assists champion), McAdoo (former ROY/MVP) and Wicks (former ROY) were all three top-flight NBA playersand former 25 ppg scorers with other teams who played for the Celtics in the late ‘70s during their period of struggle immediately preceding Larry Bird’s Hall of Fame career.

4. How many members of the NBA champion Boston Celtics of 1973-74 became NBA head coaches?

Five. Don Chaney, Dave Cowens, Don Nelson, Paul Silas and Paul Westphal all enjoyed success as NBA head coaches following their careers as players. Another player from that team, Jo Jo White, was briefly an assistant coach for the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA.

5. Which Celtics Hall of Famer was drafted by another major sporting league in 1962, and what position did he play?

John Havlicek. “Hondo” was a seventh-round selection by the Cleveland Browns in 1962, and was invited to the training camp as an offensive end – a position known nowadays as wide receiver.

6. This Celtics center enjoyed a successful career in two sporting leagues in the ‘50s – he was Bill Russell’s top backup for a few years, and in Major League Baseball, he was a four-time All-Star pitcher.

6’8” Gene Conley is also the only man to win two championship titles in separate major sporting leagues in America. As a Celtic, he was a key reserve in the 1959, 1960 and 1961 championship teams. And as a member of the Milwaukee Braves, he was a World Series winner in 1957. All in all, Conley played 12 NBA seasons and 11 MLB seasons.

7. Which two NCAA scoring leaders were drafted by the Celtics in the 1950s, yet never played in the NBA?

In case you missed last week’s second ACC trivia article, these scoring leaders were Buzz Wilkinson (3rd round, 1955) from Virginia and Grady Wallace (5th round, 1957) from South Carolina.

8. True or False – None of the Celtics’ 1963 draftees played in the NBA. And which Celtics draftee from that year missed out on the chance to be a professional athlete because of a phobia?

True. Bill Green, Chuck Kriston, Connie McGuire, W.D. Stroud, Vinnie Ernst and Herb Magee combined to play a total of zero NBA games. Green’s case is unique as the 6’6” Colorado State star, who was also drafted by the MLB and NFL, never played professional sports due to an extreme fear of flying.

9. How many former Celtics have served as the team’s head coach?

Seven. These Celtics players-turned-Celtics coaches are Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Tom Sanders, Dave Cowens, K.C. Jones, Chris Ford and M.L. Carr. Doc Rivers, the present coach, is the first ex-NBA player to coach the Celtics who hadn’t played previously for Boston.

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