Original Celtics

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The Original Celtics were a barnstorming professional basketball team in the 1920s. There is no relation to the modern Boston Celtics. The Original Celtics are often credited with extending the reach of basketball across America and for establishing the importance of aggressive defensive play. As a group, the team was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.

The team's roots lay in the New York Celtics team that disbanded during World War I. In 1918, James Furey assembled his own team around a nucleus of those truly "original" Celtics, adding other players mostly from the West Side of New York City, and defiantly called his new squad the Original Celtics. Initially they played in various struggling professional leagues, before becoming primarily a touring squad which traveled up to 150,000 miles a year while completing a 150-200 game schedule. They won about ninety percent of their games and finished 1922-23 with the unbelievable record of 193-11-1. Hoping to claim an undisputed national championship, they challenged the nationally famous Franklin Wonder Five, but the Franklin coach refused as his team "was too tired" after a grueling year.

The team's first dominant player was "Dutch" Dehnert, a 6'1" (1.85 m) standing guard whom some credit with introducing the modern concept of pivot play. When ballhandling wizard Nat Holman (later to coach national championship teams at CCNY) was signed to play for then-coach John Whitty in...
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