Joseph B. "Joe" Lapchick

The game's first true agile big man, the muscular and tall 6-foot-5-inch Joe Lapchick was a great passer, possessed a fine shot, and controlled nearly every center tap that followed each made basket. Lapchick began playing with the Holyoke Reds, Brooklyn Visitations, and Troy Trojans, but his career catapulted when the Original Celtics signed him in 1923. Lapchick was the key man in the pivot for the dominating Celtic teams of the mid-1920s. Along with Hall of Famers John Beckman, Bennie Borgmann, Dutch Denhert, and Nat Holman, the barnstorming Celtics regularly toured the country playing the best teams. When the Celtics disbanded during the 1928-29 American Basketball League season, Lapchick joined the Cleveland Rosenblums. Lapchick was also a successful college coach whose career included four NIT championships in 20 seasons at St. John's as well as an NBA stint coaching the New York Knicks, leading them to three NBA Finals appearances.