On this day in Boston Celtics history, iconic Boston big man Bill Russell had his jersey retired in a ceremony at the old Boston Garden in 1972. The ceremony was a small, quiet one, without fanfare or even fans. The Celtics great resisted even having the ceremony due to the conflicted relationship he had with the city.
Having experienced considerable racism from a certain subset of the fanbase over the years, Russell had no interest sharing such a moment with the same people who called him epithets and worse over his time with the Celtics. “He had animosities toward Boston, as most people know,” said Tom Heinsohn, former teammate, and fellow champion via the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
“And they were well-founded animosities, I might add.”
Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, center, is honored by his former teammates Satch Sanders, left, and K.C. Jones, right, as he is presented with two chairs from the Boston Garden during a tribute to Russell at the FleetCenter in Boston, Wednesday, May 26, 1999. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Russell would have his jersey retired a second time in 1999 in a much more public manner with a much wider swath of teammates, friends, and peers in attendance, such as lifelong foe on the court and friend off it, Wilt Chamberlain.
“The man is greedy,” Chamberlain said with a smile at that second retirement via the Buffalo news. “He has 11 rings and 10 fingers.”
(Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
It is also the date of a 60-point performance in 1985 by legendary Celtics forward Larry Bird, a career-high for the Hick From French Lick.
It is also a franchise record for single-game scoring by a Boston player that stands to this day, which came in a 126-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks played at a neutral site in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The offensive eruption came just nine days after Bird’s teammate Kevin McHale put up 56 points in a win over the Detroit Pistons.
(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
It is also the birthday of former Boston assistant and head coach Jimmy Rodgers.
Rodgers was born on this day in Oak Park, Illinois in 1943, and would follow Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Bill Fitch to the Celtics in 1979, winning titles in that role under Fitch and later K.C. Jones.
He’d take over the role of head coach in 1988 after Jones stepped down that year, and would coach Boston for two seasons, fired after his second season ended in a first-round loss to the New York Knicks.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 10: Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics talks to Carsen Edwards #4 during a game against the Denver Nuggets during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Celtics defeated the Nuggets 107-82. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Rodgers shares that birthday with guard Carsen Edwards, who came into this world on this date in 1998 in Houston, Texas.
The Purdue alum was drafted by Boston 33rd overall in 2019 and played 68 games over two seasons with the Celtics, averaging 3.6 points per game before he was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies for Juan Hernangomez and draft assets in 2021.
Gene Conley, left, of the Boston Celtics snags a rebound from the reach of teammate Gene Guarilia as Rudy LaRusseo of the Minneapolis Lakers moves out of the way in their NBA game at the Boston Garden, Feb. 26, 1960. Watching action at right is John Richter of the Celtics. Celts won the game, 128-111. (AP Photo/Peter J. Carroll)
Rodgers and Edwards share their day of birth with center John Richter, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1937.
An alum of NC State, Richter was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 1959 NBA draft and played 66 games for Boston before joining the Eastern Basketball Association’s Sunbury Mercuries of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, winning a title as a reserve player in 1960.
Richter logged 4.3 points and 4.7 boards per game while with Boston.
Grant Long's 2002-03 Shot Chart:
Volume: MINISCULE | 2.2 Attempts per Game (70 attempts in 32 games)
Efficiency: BAD | 81 EFG+
Shot Making: BAD | 88 ShotSkill+
Efficiency Value: POOR | -0.4 PAA/G (-12 PAA)#GrantLong#Celtics pic.twitter.com/FJ13IS6pLu
— NBA Shot Charts (@NBAChartBot) April 4, 2018
The trio shares their birthday with power forward Grant Long, who was born in Wayne, Michigan in 1966.
Long played collegiately for Eastern Michigan, and professionally for the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, and Vancouver and Memphis Grizzlies before joining Boston in the last season of his career.
The Wayne native recorded 1.8 points and 2 boards per game with the Celtics.
Wilt Chamberlain (13), University of Kansas center, stretches to his full height to grab a rebound from Bill Ashcraft of Oklahoma State in a Big Seven Tournament game against Oklahoma in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 28, 1956. In left foreground is Lewis Johnson and at right is Maurice King, both of Kansas. Chamberlain scored 36 points for Kansas in their 74-56 victory. (AP Photo)
Maurice King also shares their birthday, and the Kansas City, Missouri native was drafted 48th overall out of Kansas by Boston in 1957.
The future grandfather of NBAer Ish Wainwright deferred to spend two years in the army, making him a teammate of Richter’s as well as sharing a birthday. King’s time with the Celtics was short, appearing in just 1 game for Boston before being cut to join the now-defunct Baltimore Bullets.
The Jayhawk alum put up 10 points, 4 boards, and an assist in that game.
The 1968 Champion Boston Celtics included Johnny Jones ‘62 #27. Jones was a back up to #6 Bill Russell, the true GOAT, who passed away today. pic.twitter.com/bHpUlo2pB6
— DeMatha Catholic High School (@DeMathaCatholic) July 31, 2022
That foursome evidently has a popular day of birth given they share it with Cal State Los Angeles small forward Johnny Jones, born this day in 1943 in Washington DC.
Drafted by the Baltimore Bullets that are today’s Washington Wizards, Jones instead sat out a season to join the Celtics, winning a title in a reserve role in 1968.
It was his sole NBA season before leaving the league for the competing American Basketball Association, averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds a contest with Boston.
— Honest☘️Larry (@HonestLarry1) March 12, 2022
Bob Houbregs brings the total of Celtics born today to six, coming into the world in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1932.
The Washington alum played for the (then) Milwaukee Hawks (now, Atlanta) and the defunct Bullets before he was drafted by Boston in the Baltimore dispersal draft.
The big man logged just an assist per game in the 2 contests he played for the Celtics before he was waived.
— Honest☘️Larry (@HonestLarry1) March 12, 2021
Center Clarence Henry “Kleggie” Hermsen brings the tally to seven, born today in Hill City, Minnesota in 1923.
The Minnesota alum came to the Celtics in the penultimate stop of a long career, appearing in 27 contests for Boston before his rights were sold to the now-defunct Indianapolis Olympians in 1952.
Hermson logged 5.6 points and 4.6 boards per contest over his four-game stint with the Celtics.
Boston Celtics guard Chris Carr, right, looks for help as New Jersey Nets guard Stephon Marbury keeps close during the third quarter in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2000. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The eighth and final Celtics alum with a birthday today is wing Chris Carr, who played for Boston in the final stop of his NBA career.
Born in Ironton, Missouri on this day in 1974, the Southern Illinois alum would be drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1995, and would play for them, the Minnesota Timberwolves, (then) New Jersey (now, Brooklyn) Nets, Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls before signing with the Celtics in 2000.
Carr played 35 games for Boston in 2000-01, averaging 4.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
— Honest☘️Larry (@HonestLarry1) July 25, 2022
Finally, it is the day we lost Enoch Eli “Bud” Olsen III in 2018. Born in Hobart, Indiana in 1940, the 6-foot-8 center played collegiately for Louisville, from which he was drafted 13th overall by the (then) Cincinnati Royals.
Olsen played for that team, the Warriors, and the Seattle SuperSonics before he was drafted from that team in the Milwaukee Bucks expansion draft, only to be cut and picked up by Boston.
Olsen appeared in just 7 games for the Celtics before being waived again, logging 2 points and 2 rebounds over that stretch. Rest in peace!
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