Vintage (1920s) Original Celtics vs. Boston Celtics

On June 5, 2008, in Culture, History, NBA, Race, by Claude Johnson

The all-white team that used to battle all-black teams like the New York Rens, Commonwealth Big Five, Ciralsky Meat Packers, and Harlem Globetrotters, is now an all-black team.

The Celtics have come a long way since the vintage New York Original Celtics.

The all-white team that used to battle all-black teams like the New York Rens, Commonwealth Big Five, Ciralsky Meat Packers, and the Harlem Globetrotters, now is an all-black team.

Then …

New York Original Celtics

Bangin’ hard meant giant thigh bruises (Hall of Fame center Joe Lapchick) and eyebrow stitches (Davey Banks).

… promoting a game against the Commonwealth Big Five:

Commonwealth Sporting Club vs. Original Celtics

The Commonwealth Big Five were “Colored Champions” in 1924.

And now …

Boston Celtics

Can today’s Celtics – though unaffiliated with the New York Original Celtics – bang just as hard?

To learn a whole lot more about the New York Original Celtics, check out a great book by Penn State professor Murry Nelson called The Originals.

Meanwhile, will today’s Celtics, their fans, and coach “Doc” Rivers need this book?

Basketball For The Player The Fan And The Coach

The cover art for early Celtics coach Red Auerbach’s book, “Basketball For The Player The Fan And The Coach.”

Or will the Boston Celtics throw this book at the Los Angeles Lakers?

We’ll find out tonight with N.B.A. Finals Game 1 in Boston!

(Original Celtics photo courtesy of Bettman Archives; Boston Celtics photo courtesy of Getty Images.)

8 Responses to Vintage (1920s) Original Celtics vs. Boston Celtics

  1. Joe Smith says:

    The Original Celtics have no affiliation with the Boston Celtics.

  2. Claude says:

    Hey Joe, thanks. We know that … just trying to make a point and have some fun with it. The only affiliation is the “Celtics” part of the name and the shamrock. But yes, we could have stated that clearly.

  3. Njst says:

    That picture is of last year’s celtics team, you know the one that won 24 games and then all got traded?

  4. Steve Jones says:

    How do I get a copy of the photo of the five Original Celtics. In the early ’50s Johnny Beckman took me to a Knicks game honoring the Original Celtics and had the team members who attended autograph some Knickerbocker stationary. I want to frame the autograph with a picture.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  5. [...] time, Joe Lapchick, was born on April 12, 1900 in Yonkers, New York.  Lapchick was a star with the New York Original Celtics and other pro hoops teams during the 1920s and 1930s.  For nearly two decades, his Celtics engaged [...]

  6. john says:

    As far as I am concerned the celtics have won 20 championships the 3 that the original celtics won and the 17 the Boston Celtics won

  7. GameScribe says:

    FYI – The first team in the NBA to regularly start 5 African Americans was the Red Auerbach coached 1964-65 Boston Celtics: C – Bill Russell, F- Tom “Satch” Sanders, F – Willie “the Whale” Naulls, G – Sam Jones, Point Guard – K.C. Jones. John “Hondo” Havlicek was the 6th man and usually in the game at its end in place of the older, slower ex- Knickerbocker scorer Naulls, one of Auerbach’s retreads he typically got great and timely performances from at the end of their careers. Others included Andy Phillip, Clyde Lovelette, Wayne Embry, Pete Maravich, Bill Walton, to just name a few. Supposedly, Walter Brown, owner of the Boston Bruins and managing partner of Boston Garden, purchased the rights to the Celtics name from one of the Originals when the BAA (Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA) was formed in 1946. Also, Auerbach was one of only three operators in the early NBA to sign a black player, Chuck Cooper, early 1950’s. Your welcome.

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