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Original Celtics

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 re-formed 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 Dehnert, 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, finishing the tour with a 193-11-1 record. After playing in the American Basketball League, where the team won consecutive ABL titles in 1926 and 1927, 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. 



Team Stats

FIRST Professional team
to sign exclusive
player contracts
2x ABL Championships (1926, 1927)
STARTED Post play, zone defenses,
and switching man-to-man
1920s Preeminent barnstorming team