First NBA player to break a backboard
Chuck Connors, Boston, Nov. 5, 1946
Connors, who would later go on to much greater fame as the star of TV's "The Rifleman," broke the backboard at Boston Arena before the Celtics' maiden home opener against the Chicago Stags. Contrary to popular belief, he did not do it with a dunk.
"During the warm-ups, I took a harmless 15- to 20-foot set shot, and, crash, the glass backboard shattered," Connors recalled in a 1986 interview. The backboard crumbled because a worker had not installed a piece of protective rubber between it and the rim. The game was delayed an hour while a truck picked up a spare backboard from Boston Garden, where a rodeo was taking place in front of a packed house.
In 53 career games with the Celtics, Connors averaged 4.5 points per game. After leaving basketball, he tried his hand at baseball, playing briefly for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, before finding his niche in Hollywood as The Rifleman.
Largest Chest on an Unofficial Mascot
88 inches: Busty Heart, Boston Celtics.
Stripper Busty Heart and her massive 88 inch bazooms bounced into the public eye during Game 1 of the Celtics 1986 playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks. The tall blonde caused a major commotion at Boston Garden when she began dancing in a tight halter top right next to a CBS TV camera. The uproar prompted Celtics radio announcer Johnny Most to explain to his listeners: "There is a blonde with very large assets dancing in the stands. She looks like Morganna but much larger." The voluptuous heart became Boston's unofficial mascot, and from her seat near the Hawks' bench she created such a visual distraction that Atlanta coach Mike Fratello later claimed she cost his team at least one win in the series, which the Celtics took in five games.
Most stab wounds suffered by a player
11: Paul Pierce, Boston, Sept. 25, 2000
Pierce was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he was also more than a little lucky.
Minutes after entering a Boston dance club in the early morning hours of Sept. 25, 2000, the 22-year-old Celtics player was ambushed after he stopped to chat with a gang member's sister. Jumped from behind by three men, he was sucker punched, had a bottle broken over his right eye, and had a knife plunged through the back of his leather jacket six inches into his body.
Pierce also received 10 other stab wounds in the neck and chest, the worst of which penetrated his abdomen and diaphragm and punctured his lung, coming within an inch of his heart. Friends rushed him to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage. Amazingly, Pierce was back on the court in less than a month and went on to have a stellar season, leading the Celtics in scoring.
Only NBA teams to trade Owners
Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers 1978
Faced with declining attendance, Buffalo Braves owner John Y. Brown went looking for a new city for the Braves franchise at the 1977 owners' meeting. The Boston Celtics were owned by Irv Levin, a Beverly Hills resident who wanted to own a club that played closer to his home state. NBA attorney David Stern (who is now the league's commissioner) proposed a novel solution: the Buffalo Braves would move to San Diego, and Brown and Levin would flip franchises. In June 1978, NBA owners voted 21-1 in favor of the swap. The deal included a complicated seven player trade but the most important detail in the transaction was that Boston retained the draft rights to Larry Bird.
Highest Home winning Percentage, One Season
.976 Boston Celtics 1985-86
Larry Bird and the Celtics were virtually invincible playing on the parquet at Boston Garden in 1985-86 winning 40 of 41 regular season games at home, then 10 more without a loss in the playoffs. The Celtics lone home defest came at the hands of Jack Ramsey and the Portland Trailblazers.
Most Regular Season Wins by a Non-Champion
68: Boston Celtics, 1972-73
By adding rising young stars Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White to its veteran cast of John Havlicek, Paul Silas, Don Chaney, Tom Sanders and Don Nelson, Boston raced to the top of the standings. The Celtics notched 68 victories, one shy of the record set by the NBA Champion Lakers the year before. But the Celtics came unglued in the playoff, losing in seven games to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference finals. No other NBA team has won so many games and not emerged as champion. [Dallas came close, winning 67 last season].
Only Coach to Punch Out an Opposition Owner During the Pre-Game Warm-Up
Red Auerbach, Boston, April 6, 1957
A dispute over the height of the basket at Kiel Auditorium before game 3 of the 1957 NBA Finals led to a confrontation between Celtics coach Red Auerbach and Hawks owner Ben Kerner. When Kerner began screaming obscenities at Auerbach, the Boston coach decked him at midcourt in front of a sold out crowd. Kerner, who suffered a bloody nose, was escorted back to his seat while Auerbach returned to the Boston bench and the game proceeded. Auerbach was fined $300 for the punch. If the move was designed to fire his team up, it failed to work. St. Louis won 100-98.
Most Cigars Smoked by a Coach during Games
Several Hundred: Red Auerbach, 1946-1966
Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill, and George Burns may rank as the world's most famous cigar smokers, but Auerbach is the king of the sports world. He liked to fire up a fat stogie on the bench during the final minutes of NBA games when his team had the victory well in hand. Considering that Auerbach coached the Celtics to nine NBA Championships, he had plenty or opportunities to blow smoke at the opposition. The fact that Auerbach lit up before the game was over struck many as arrogant, though he viewed it differently. Auerbach believed that casually puffing on a cigar when your team is far ahead was more sportsmanlike than aggressively pushing your team to pad the score. As he once said: "You got a team by 30 points, there's three minutes to go. The coach is still pacing up and down on the sidelines and yelling. For what? He's on TV. He wants to show that his team fights and is active for the full 48 minutes and he's and integral part of it. My feeling was that once the game is decided - and you could tell - then sit down and relax." Tempting as it may be, not other coach will copy Auerbach's trademark gesture or threaten his unofficial record. Since smoking is now prohibited in NBA arenas, the victory cigar has become an indulgence reserved for post game celebrations. Although, when Darko Milicic was with the Pistons, he was never put into games until the game was decided and they called him "the human victory cigar."
Most Famous Call by an NBA Broadcaster
"Havlicek stole the ball!": Johnny Most, Boston vs Philadelphia, April 1, 1965
The Celtics were leading the 76ers 110-103 late in game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at Boston Garden when coach Red Auerbach lit his trademark victory cigar. But Philly rallied to make it 110-109 and was threatening to pull off a stunning upset when Hal Greer tried to inbound the ball to Chet Walker under his own basket. Celtics forward John Havlicek anticipated the move and was immortalized with Johnny Most's ear piercing call: "Greer is putting the ball in play. He gets it out, and Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over! It's alll over!" The steal kept alive the Celtics amazing run of consecutive championships, a streak that would reach eight before the 76ers finally topped Boston in 1967.
Most Game 7 Wins in Playoffs, Career
10: Bill Russell, 1956-1969
Statistically speaking, Russell usually came out second best to his great rival Wilt Chamberlain, but not in the stat that mattered most. Russell won 11 NBA titles to Chamberlain's two, and was an incredible 10-0 in Game 7 during his storied career. Of the 10, eight were won in Boston and two on the road, and five came in the NBA finals.
Most Premature Postgame Celebration in a Finals
Los Angeles Lakers, May , 1969
Before game 7 of the 1969 finals, Boston's Bill Russell got his hands on a script that described plans for a post game Lakers celebration that included a rendition of Happy Days Are Here Again to be played by the University of Southern California band. When the Celtics walked out on the court to begin the game against the heavily favored Lakers, they saw 5,000 balloons suspended in nets from the ceiling. But as was often the case during that era, the Celtics found a way to win. Don Nelson's late jumper, which bounded off the back rim straight up into the air and down into the basket, was the key to a 108-106 victory. The triumph gave the Celtics their 11th title in 13 years.
Largest Fourth Quarter Comeback in a Playoff Game
21 points: Boston vs New Jersey, May 25,2002
Leading 74 to 53 after three quarters, the Nets appeared to have Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals sewn up. In NBA playoff history, 171 teams had taken leads of more than 18 points into the last quarter and none had lost. New Jersey's reserves were so confident they were laughing at the Celtics. But the grins vanished when Boston staged a frantic rally. Leading the charge was Paul Pierce, whos scored 19 of his team high 28 points in the quarter as the Celtics outscored the Nets 41-16 in the final 12 minutes to post a 94-90 victory. Although the miracle comeback gave the Celtics a 2-1 lead in the series, they had shot their bolt. They dropped the next three games and were eliminated.
This book was written before the Heat's massive celebration before they had even played a game, or I'm sure that would have been the most premature celebration for a championship. That one was about 2 years early.