William Felton Russell is an American retired professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA championships during his thirteen-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, he captained the gold-medal winning U. S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he was 6 ft 10 with a 7 ft 4 in wingspan. His shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' domination of the NBA during his career. Russell was notable for his rebounding abilities, he led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game.
He is one of just two NBA players to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game. Russell was never the focal point of the Celtics' offense, but he did score 14,522 career points and provided effective passing. Russell played in the wake of black pioneers Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, he was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA, he served a three-season stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first black coach in North American professional sports and the first to win a championship. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments on the court and in the Civil Rights Movement. Russell is one of seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, an Olympic gold medal, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was selected into the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971 and the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980, named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, one of only four players to receive all three honors.
In 2007, he was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame. In Russell's honor the NBA renamed the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy in 2009: it is now the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Bill Russell was born in 1934 to Katie Russell in West Monroe, Louisiana. Like all Southern towns and cities of that time, West Monroe was a segregated place, the Russells struggled with racism in their daily lives. Russell's father was once refused service at a gas station until the staff had taken care of all the white customers; when his father attempted to leave and find a different station, the attendant stuck a shotgun in his face and threatened to kill him if he didn't stay and wait his turn. In another incident, Russell's mother was walking outside in a fancy dress when a white policeman accosted her, he told her to go home and remove the dress, which he described as "white woman's clothing". During World War II, large numbers of blacks were moving to the West to look for work there; when Russell was eight years old, his father moved the family out of Louisiana and settled in Oakland, California.
While there, the family fell into poverty, Russell spent his childhood living in a series of public housing projects. Charles Russell was described as a "stern, hard man" who worked as a janitor in a paper factory, a typical "Negro Job"—low paid and not intellectually challenging, as sports journalist John Taylor commented; when World War II broke out, the elder Russell became a truck driver. Russell was closer to his mother Katie than to his father, he received a major emotional blow when she died when he was 12 years old, his father gave up his trucking job and became a steelworker to be closer to his semi-orphaned children. Russell has stated that his father became his childhood hero followed up by Minneapolis Lakers superstar George Mikan, whom he met when he was in high school. Mikan, in turn, would say of Russell the college basketball player, "Let's face it, he's the best ever. He's so good, he scares you." In his early years, Russell struggled to develop his skills as a basketball player.
Although Russell was a good runner and jumper and had large hands, he did not understand the game and was cut from the team in junior high school. As a freshman at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Russell was cut again. However, coach George Powles saw Russell's raw athletic potential and encouraged him to work on his fundamentals. Since Russell's previous experiences with white authority figures were negative, he was delighted to receive warm words from his white coach, he worked hard and used the benefits of a growth spurt to become a decent basketball player, but it was not until his junior and senior years that he began to excel, winning back to back high school state championships. Russell soon became, he recalled, "To play good defense... it was told back that you had to stay flatfooted at all times to react quickly. When I started to jump to make defensive plays and to block shots, I was corrected, but I stuck with it, it paid off." Russell, in an autobiographical account, notes while on a California High School All-Stars tour, he became obsessed with studying and memorizing other players' moves as preparation for defending against them
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. Founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, the Warriors relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and took the city's name, before changing its geographic moniker to Golden State in 1971, they play their home games at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors won the inaugural Basketball Association of America championship in 1947, won its second championship in 1956, led by Hall of Fame trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, Neil Johnston. However, the Warriors would not return to similar heights in Philadelphia, after a brief rebuilding period following the trade of star Wilt Chamberlain, the team moved to San Francisco. With star players Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry, the Warriors returned to title contention, won their third championship in 1975, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
This would precede another period of struggle in the 1980s, before becoming playoff regulars at the turn of the decade with stars Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, colloquially referred to as "Run TMC". After failing to capture a championship, the team entered another rebuilding phase in the 2000s; the Warriors' fortunes changed in the 2010s. After drafting perennial All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the team returned to championship glory in 2015, before winning another two in 2017 and 2018 with the help of former league MVP Kevin Durant. Nicknamed the Dubs as a shortening of "W's", the Warriors hold several NBA records. With the combined shooting of Curry and Thompson, they are credited as one of the greatest backcourts of all time; the team's six NBA championships are tied for third-most in NBA history with the Chicago Bulls. According to Forbes, the Warriors are the seventh highest valued sports franchise in the United States, joint-tenth in the world, with an estimated value of $3.1 billion.
The Warriors were founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, a charter member of the Basketball Association of America. They were owned by Peter A. Tyrrell, who owned the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League. Tyrrell hired Eddie Gottlieb, a longtime basketball promoter in the Philadelphia area, as coach and general manager; the owners named the team after the Philadelphia Warriors, an old basketball team who played in the American Basketball League in 1925. Led by early scoring sensation Joe Fulks, the team won the championship in the league's inaugural 1946–47 season by defeating the Chicago Stags, four games to one; the NBA, created by a 1949 merger recognizes that as its own first championship. Gottlieb bought the team in 1951; the Warriors won its next championship in Philadelphia in the 1955–56 season, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. The Warrior stars of this era were future Hall of Tom Gola and Neil Johnston. In 1959, the team signed draft pick Wilt Chamberlain.
Known as "Wilt the Stilt", he led the team in scoring six times began shattering NBA scoring records and changed the NBA style of play forever. On March 2, 1962, in a Warrior "home" game played on a neutral court in Hershey, Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks, a single-game record the NBA ranks among its finest moments. In 1962, Franklin Mieuli purchased the majority shares of the team and relocated the franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area, renaming them the San Francisco Warriors; the Warriors played most of their home games at the Cow Palace in Daly City from 1962 to 1964 and the San Francisco Civic Auditorium from 1964 to 1966, though playing home games in nearby cities such as Oakland and San Jose. Prior to the 1963–64 NBA season, the Warriors drafted big man Nate Thurmond to go along with Chamberlain; the Warriors won the Western Division crown that season, but lost the 1964 NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, four games to one. In the 1964–65 season, the Warriors traded Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and $150,000 and won only 17 games.
In 1965, they drafted Rick Barry in the first round who went on to become NBA Rookie of the Year that season and led the Warriors to the NBA Finals in the 1966–67 season, losing to Chamberlain's new team that had replaced the Warriors in Philadelphia, the 76ers. Angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive bonuses he felt were due him, Barry sat out the 1967–68 season and signed with the Oakland Oaks of the rival American Basketball Association for the following year, but after four seasons in the ABA rejoined the Warriors in 1972. During Barry's absence, the Warriors were no longer title contenders, the mantle of leadership fell to Thurmond, Jeff Mullins and Rudy LaRusso, they began scheduling more home games in Oakland with the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966 and the 1970–71 season would be the team's last as the San Francisco Warriors. The franchise adopted its brand name Golden State Warriors prior to the 1971–72 season, in order to suggest that the team represented the entire state of California.
All home games were played in Oakland that season. Oakland Arena became the team's exclusive home court in 1971; the Warriors made the playoffs from 1971 to 1977 except in 1974, won their first NBA championship on t
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
St. Louis is an independent city and major inland port in the U. S. state of Missouri. It is situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which marks Missouri's border with Illinois; the Missouri River merges with the Mississippi River just north of the city. These two rivers combined form the fourth longest river system in the world; the city had an estimated 2017 population of 308,626 and is the cultural and economic center of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, the 22nd-largest in the United States. Before European settlement, the area was a regional center of Native American Mississippian culture; the city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, named after Louis IX of France. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the area was ceded to Spain and retroceded back to France in 1800. In 1803, the United States acquired the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
During the 19th century, St. Louis became a major port on the Mississippi River, it separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Summer Olympics; the economy of metropolitan St. Louis relies on service, trade, transportation of goods, tourism, its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Boeing Defense, Energizer, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Post Holdings, Edward Jones, Go Jet and Sigma-Aldrich. Nine of the ten Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri are located within the St. Louis metropolitan area; this city has become known for its growing medical and research presence due to institutions such as Washington University in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. St. Louis has two professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. One of the city's iconic sights is the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch in the downtown area.
The area that would become St. Louis was a center of the Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River, their major regional center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900 to 1500. Due to numerous major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries, the city was nicknamed as the "Mound City"; these mounds were demolished during the city's development. Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people, whose territory extended west, the Illiniwek. European exploration of the area was first recorded in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years La Salle claimed the region for France as part of La Louisiane; the earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country on the east side of the Mississippi River during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the French villages on the opposite side of the Mississippi River founded Ste.
Genevieve in the 1730s. In early 1764, after France lost the 7 Years' War, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded what was to become the city of St. Louis; the early French families built the city's economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. The Chouteau brothers gained a monopoly from Spain on the fur trade with Santa Fe. French colonists used African slaves as domestic workers in the city. France, alarmed that Britain would demand French possessions west of the Mississippi and the Missouri River basin after the losing New France to them in 1759–60, transferred these to Spain as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain; these areas remained in Spanish possession until 1803. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis; the founding of St. Louis began in 1763. Pierre Laclede led an expedition to set up a fur-trading post farther up the Mississippi River.
Before Laclede had been a successful merchant. For this reason, he and his trading partner Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent were offered monopolies for six years of the fur trading in that area. Although they were only granted rights to set-up a trading post and other members of his expedition set up a settlement; some historians believe that Laclede's determination to create this settlement was the result of his affair with a married woman Marie-Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau in New Orleans. Laclede on his initial expedition was accompanied by Auguste Chouteau; some historians still debate. The reason for this lingering question is that all the documentation of the founding was loaned and subsequently destroyed in a fire. For the first few years of St. Louis's existence, the city was not recognized by any of the governments. Although thought to be under the control of the Spanish government, no one asserted any authority over the settlement, thus St. Louis had no local government; this led Laclede to assume a position of civil control, all problems were disposed i
David Albert DeBusschere was an American professional National Basketball Association player and coach and Major League baseball player. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. DeBusschere was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. DeBusschere was born in Detroit to parents Peter Dorothy Debusschere, he attended Austin Catholic Preparatory School and inspired the "White Shirted Legion". As a junior, he was named all-state, in his senior year of 1957–58, in just the school's third year of organized basketball, he led his team to the Michigan Class A high school basketball championship, scoring 32 points despite fouling out midway through the fourth quarter as the Friars defeated Benton Harbor High School and Debusschere's future NBA rival forward Chet Walker. DeBusschere starred in both baseball at the University of Detroit, he averaged 24 points a game in basketball, helping Detroit reach the National Invitation Tournament twice and the NCAA basketball tournament once.
He pitched the Titans to three NCAA baseball tournament berths. In 1962, DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent, he was a pitcher for the White Sox from 1962 to 1963. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In 22 career at bats, he had only one hit, a single off Bennie Daniels on July 17, 1963, he pitched in the White Sox's minor league system for two more seasons before giving up pitching to focus on both playing and coaching basketball. He is one of only 13 athletes to have played in both the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball; the 13 are: Danny Ainge, Frank Baumholtz, Gene Conley, Chuck Connors, DeBusschere, Johnny Gee, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Mark Hendrickson, Cotton Nash, Ron Reed, Dick Ricketts and Howie Schultz.. DeBusschere was selected by the Detroit Pistons in 1962 NBA draft as a territorial draft selection. During his rookie season, he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team.
However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a disappointing record of 23-59. In the 1964–1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, thus became the youngest-ever coach in league history. However, this stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968–1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives. DeBusschere, along with future Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier, became an NBA champion when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Finals. With Earl Monroe in the backcourt, they became champions again in 1973, beating the Lakers 4-1 in the finals. DeBusschere was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 after a 12-year career in which he averaged 16.1 points and 11 rebounds while being named to eight NBA All-Star teams. He became a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
He was renowned for his physical style of play and tenacious defense, he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team six times. DeBusschere retired as a player in 1974, his #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years later; the next year DeBusschere became the ABA's commissioner for the 1975 -- its last. DeBusschere helped bring about the ABA that year, he was the assistant coach and director of basketball operation of the Knicks during the 1980s, when he drafted fellow Knicks legend Patrick Ewing, the first overall selection in 1985. DeBusschere and some partners purchased Ring magazine in 1979. DeBusschere authored a book entitled The Open Man, a chronicle of the New York Knicks' 1969–1970 championship season. In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street from a heart attack and was pronounced dead at New York University Hospital, he was 62 years of age. DeBusschere was interred at Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery in Nassau County, New York. DeBusschere, who lived in Garden City, was survived by his wife, sons Peter and Dennis, daughter Michelle.
In his honor, the University of Detroit Mercy inaugurated the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship in 2003. It provides support to two student-athletes that must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. List of National Basketball Association career rebounding leaders List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 30 or more rebounds in a game List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career rebounding leaders NBA.com career summary Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube Dave DeBusschere at Find a Grave
The Philadelphia 76ers are an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at Wells Fargo Center. Founded in 1946 and known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, one of only eight to survive the league's first decade; the 76ers have had a rich history, with many of the greatest players in NBA history having played for the organization, including Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson. They have won three NBA championships, with their first coming as the Syracuse Nationals in 1955; the second title came in 1967, a team, led by Chamberlain. The third title came in 1983, won by a team led by Malone; the 76ers have only been back to the NBA Finals once since then: in 2001, where they were led by Iverson and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
In 1946, Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone sent a $5,000 check to the National Basketball League offices in Chicago, the Syracuse Nationals became the Midwest-based league's easternmost team, based in the Upstate New York city of Syracuse. The Syracuse Nationals began play in the NBL in the same year professional basketball was gaining some legitimacy with the rival Basketball Association of America, based in large cities like New York and Philadelphia. While in the NBL with teams consisting of small Midwestern towns, the Nationals put together a 21–23 record, finishing in fourth place. In the playoffs, the Nationals would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in four games. In their second season, 1947–48, the Nationals would struggle, finishing in fifth place with a 24–36 record. Despite their struggles, the Nationals would make the playoffs, getting swept by the Anderson Duffey Packers in 3 straight games. Several teams began to leave the NBL for the BAA; the Nationals "recipe for success" began by recruiting Leo Ferris.
Staying in the NBL, Ferris signed Al Cervi to be player coach and outbid the New York Knicks for the services of Dolph Schayes who made his professional debut, leading the Nationals to a winning record for the first time with a record of 41–22. In the playoffs the Nationals would make quick work of the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers, winning the series in 2 straight games. However, in the semifinals the Nationals would fall to the Anderson Duffey Packers for the second straight season in four games. In 1949, the Nationals were one of seven NBL teams that were absorbed by the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA; the Nationals were an instant success in the NBA, winning the Eastern Division in the 1949–50 season, with a league best record of 51–13. In the playoffs the Nationals continued to play solid basketball, beating the Philadelphia Warriors in 2 straight. Moving on to the Eastern Finals, the Nationals battled the New York Knickerbockers, beating their big city rivals in a 3-game series.
In the NBA Finals, the Nationals faced. In Game 1 of the Finals the Nationals lost just their second home game of the season 68–66; the Nationals did not recover. Despite several teams leaving the NBA for the National Professional Basketball League before the 1950–51 season, the Nationals decided to stay put. In their second NBA season, 1950–51, the Nationals played mediocre basketball all season, finishing in fourth place with a record of 32–34. However, in the playoffs the Nationals played their best basketball of the season as they stunned the first place Warriors in two straight, taking Game 1 on the road in overtime 91–89. In the Eastern Finals the Nationals were beaten by the New York Knickerbockers in a hard-fought 5-game series, losing the finale by just 2 points. Cervi, playing less and coaching more, emphasized a patient offense and a scrappy defense, which led the league in the 1951–52 season by yielding a stingy 79.5 points per game as the Nationals won the Eastern Division with a solid 40–26 record.
In the playoffs the Nationals knocked off the Warriors again in a 3-game series. However, in the Eastern Finals the Nationals fell to the Knickerbockers again, dropping the series in four games; the Nationals would finish in second place in a hard-fought 3-way battle for first place in the Eastern Division for the 1952–53 season, with a record of 47–24. In the playoffs the Nationals would face the Boston Celtics dropping Game 1 at home 87–81. Needing a win in Boston to keep their hopes alive, the Nationals would take the Celtics deep into overtime before losing in quadruple OT 111–105, in what remains the longest playoff game in NBA history; the Nationals acquired Alex Groza, Ralph Beard as the Indianapolis Olympians folded leaving the NBA with just 9 teams for the 1953–54 season. Once again the Nationals would battle for the Division title falling two games short with a 42–30 record. In the playoffs the Nationals would win all four games of a round robin tournament involving the three playoff teams from the East.
In the Eastern Finals the Nationals would stay hot beating the Celtics in 2 straight games. However, in the NBA Finals the Nationals would lose to the Lakers in a hard-fought 7-game series where the 2 teams alternated wins throughout. With the NBA struggling financially and down to just 8 teams Nationals owner during the 1954–55 season, Biasone suggested the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot thus speeding up a game that ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball and playing keep away. Biasone and Nationals' general manager
John Joseph "Hondo" Havlicek is an American retired professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons. In the National Basketball Association, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more championships during their playing careers, Havlicek is one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8–0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes. Havlicek is considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game and was inducted as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984, he was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Ohio. Havlicek played college basketball with Jerry Lucas, his roommate, at Ohio State University; that team, which had future coaching legend Bobby Knight as a reserve, won the 1960 NCAA title. He was named as an alternate to the 1960 Olympic Games United States Team. Havlicek was drafted by both the Celtics and the NFL's Cleveland Browns in 1962.
After competing as a wide receiver in the Browns' training camp that year, he focused his energies on playing for the Celtics, with head coach Red Auerbach describing him as the "guts of the team." He was known for his stamina, with competitors saying that it was a challenge just to keep up with him. Nicknamed "Hondo", Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role, has been immortalized for his clutch steal in the closing seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference championship. In the seventh and final game, played at Boston Garden, the Celtics led the Philadelphia 76ers 110–109 with five seconds left, only needed to inbound the ball underneath their basket to secure the victory and advance to the NBA Finals. Hal Greer was set to throw the inbounds pass for the 76ers. Havlicek stood with his back to Greer, but as Greer's pass came inbounds, Havlicek spun and tipped the pass to Sam Jones. Veteran referee Earl Strom, who wrote about this in his memoir "Calling the Shots", called Havlicek's reaction one of the greatest plays he saw in his 32 years as a professional official.
Havlicek is the Celtics' all-time leader in points and games played, scoring 26,395 points, playing in 1,270 games. He became the first player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, with his best season coming during the 1970–71 NBA season when he averaged 28.9 points per game. Havlicek shares the NBA Finals single-game record for most points in an overtime period, was named that year's NBA Finals MVP. In the second overtime of Game Five of the 1976 NBA Finals, Havlicek made a leaning, running bank shot that appeared to be the game-winner, as fans spilled onto the floor, but Havlicek's shot went in with one second left and Phoenix was allowed one final shot, which Gar Heard scored to force the game's third overtime; the Celtics went on to win the game in triple overtime. Aside from being a great sixth man at the start of his career, Havlicek became known for his ability to play both forward and guard, his relentlessness and tenacity on both offense and defense, his outstanding skills in all facets of the game, his constant movement, his tireless ability to run up and down the court.
As a result of his endurance, he was a devastating fastbreak finisher, one who could score in bunches when his Celtics team would shut out the other team and grab defensive rebounds. Although he did not have a high field goal percentage, he was a clutch outside shooter with great range, he was the type of player who would do what it took to help his team score a victory, such as grab a crucial rebound, draw a charge, come up with a steal in a key defensive moment, or settle the team with a clutch basket or assist. In 1974, Russell summed up Havlicek's career by saying "He is the best all-around player I saw." A thirteen-time NBA All-Star, Havlicek retired in 1978 and his number 17 jersey was retired by the Celtics. At the time of his retirement, Havlicek was the NBA career leader in games played and third in points behind Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Havlicek retired as the career leader in field goal attempts and missed field goals. Havlicek is now 26th, 15th, 6th and 2nd in those stats.
In 1984 Havlicek became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1997, he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Havlicek was ranked #17 on SLAM magazine's Top 50 NBA Players of all time in 2009 and once again at the same position in the magazine's Top 500 NBA Players of all time in 2011, he was named the 14th best player of all-time in Bill Simmons's Book of Basketball. The Bridgeport High School Gymnasium was renamed the "John J. Havlicek Gymnasium" in January 2007, he shares the honor with National High School Hall of Fame member Frank Baxter, a longtime coach at Bridgeport High School. The court is named after Baxter. Fellow Hall of Famer Chris Mullin wore number 17 as a tribute to Havlicek. Pony International still produces a model of athletic shoes named after the iconic basketballer called the "John Havlicek" bearing John's signature. Havlicek's son Chris played collegiate basketball f