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The very first title of the storied Boston Celtics franchise’s 17 banners almost wasn’t. The ultimate loser — the (then) St. Louis (now, Atlanta) Hawks — was poised to win the 1957 NBA Finals via a layup as time expired.
But as if out of nowhere, rookie Bill Russell bounded down the court after the breakaway play, committing the league’s very first example of a chase down block. The future Celtics legend would have many, many more rejections to his name as his Hall of Fame career progressed, but this was both Russell’s debut on the stage of basketball greats, and the birth of one of the league’s most dramatic plays.
To see it on film for yourself, watch the video embedded below, courtesy of our fellow history buffs over at CLNS Media’s “NBA History & Legends on CLNS” YouTube channel.
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