On this day in Boston Celtics history, the team sold the contract of small forward Chuck Cooper to the (then) Milwaukee (now, Atlanta) Hawks in 1953. Cooper, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had been drafted by the Celtics out of Duquesne in the 1950 NBA draft with the 14th overall pick.
With that selection, the future Hall of Fame wing became the first African American drafted into the league and one of the first to play in the NBA. Legendary Head Coach and General Manager Red Auerbach famously said of the pick at the time, “I don’t give a damn if he’s striped, plaid or polka dot. Boston takes Charles Cooper of Duquesne.”
He would play four seasons with Boston under team president and coach Red Auerbach, averaging 6.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game in his time with the franchise.
— Honest☘️Larry (@HonestLarry1) September 20, 2020
It was also the date of the 1974 NBA draft, in which the Celtics drafted four players of note.
The first was Al Skinner, a shooting guard out of UMass, taken with the 160th pick (there were many more rounds in that era).
Boston also drafted small forward Ben Clyde from Florida State with the 89th pick of the draft.
Clyde would play 25 games for Boston in the following season, averaging 2.8 points, 1.6 boards, and 0.2 assists per game before being waived in 1975.
The Celtics also took shooting guard Kevin Stacom from Providence with the 35th overall pick.
Stacom would stick for five seasons with the Celtics, with whom he won a ring in 1976, averaging 5.3 points, 1.5 boards, and 1.5 assists per game.
With the 17th pick, Boston took small forward Glenn McDonald out of Cal State Long Beach.
McDonald would also win a ring with Boston in 1976, for whom he would play two seasons, logging 4.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game.
It is the anniversary of the 1980 Expansion draft in which players were selected from unprotected prospects on Boston and other established NBA teams to populate the roster of the newly-formed Dallas Mavericks.
The Celtics saw shooting guard Jeff Judkins taken from them after two seasons with the team over which he put up 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per contest.
Finally, in 1986, Celtics legend Larry Bird won his third straight MVP award.
The Indiana native joined Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to win the MVP award three seasons in a row.
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