Original Celtics

Enshrined 1959


Playing with flair and strong fundamental skill, the Original Celtics brought professional basketball to national attention for the first time. Using teenage players from Manhattan's West Side, Frank McCormack formed the team as the New York Celtics in 1914. Following World War I, promoter James Furey reformed the team as the Original Celtics. Playing home games at Madison Square Garden, the squad featured several future Hall of Famers, including burly forward Dutch Dennert, dazzling passer Nat Holman, scorer John Beckman, and powerful center Joe Lapchick. After a stint in the Eastern and Metropolitan Leagues, the team barnstormed through a 205-game national schedule. The Celtics dominated everyone, finishing the tour with a 193-11-1 record. After playing in the American and National Basketball Leagues, the Celtics returned to barnstorming through 1941. Setting a new style and pace for the sport, the Original Celtics are credited with many innovations, including the post play, zone defenses, and switching man-to-man defenses.

Career Highlights

First professional team to sign exclusive player contracts
ABL championships, 1926, 1927
Introduced post play, zone defenses, and switching man-to-man defense
Preeminent barnstorming team in the 1920s