In February, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, commissioner David Stern and players association director Billy Hunter announced an amendment to the pre-1965 pension plan. Players with three years' service became eligible.
George Sullivan Special to The Globe.
Copyright Boston Globe Newspaper Aug 2, 1981
OK, trivia buffs, try this Celtics' numbers game.
Of the the 188 players to have worn Celtic Green during the club's 35- season history, which jersey number has been used by most players?
You're right if you said No. 11. It's been worn by a dozen Celtics beginning with original Celt pivotman Chuck (Rifleman) Connors in 1946-47. Runnersup in number popularity are Nos. 12 and 17, each claimed by nine players, and Nos. 4, 7 and 21, by eight players apiece.
Which number has been used longest by one player? Yes, of course, the No. 17 worn 16 seasons by John Havlicek.
That's easier than the question on the other side of that coin: Which number was worn the shortest time? Make that plural because there are two via a pair of onetime Celtics with one-game Boston careers: Maurice King, who put on No. 19 once in 1959-60, Bob Eliason who for one game in 1946-47 was the first to wear the No. 14 later immortalized by Bob Cousy.
And here's a soft one and a hard one: Name the lowest and highest numbers ever worn by a Celtic. Easy is the No. 00 introduced by Robert Parish last season. Not so easy is the No. 54 worn by Zaid Abdul Aziz (Don Smith) during his two Celtic games in 1977-78.
Surely you remember who had No. 6 before Bill Russell, No. 16 before Tom (Satch) Sanders and No. 17 before John Havlicek. Take three giant steps if you recall Tom Kelly wearing No. 6 in 1948-49, Andy Phillip No. 17 in 1957-58 and John Richter No. 16 in 1959-60.
All right, now which of the Celtics' 13 retired numbers was never worn in a game? Yes, you're right: the No. 1 that's draped from the Garden rafters for team founder Walter Brown.
And everyone knows that No. 25 hangs from the Garden ceiling in tribute to K.C. Jones, but what was his orginal number with the Celtics? Go to the head of the class if you recalled the No. 27 he wore briefly.
Now identify the one number worn by two Celtics whose jerseys have been retired. OK, you knew that one, too: the No. 18 belonging to both Jim Loscutoff and Dave Cowens.
So if you're so smart, which number will the Celtics retire next season?
Yes, it's Jo Jo White's No. 10, although the exact date hasn't yet been set for the ceremony.-
No Celtic has ever worn Nos. 1 or 2, nor has any used Nos. 3, 4, 5, 8 or 9 in at least a decade - some not for three decades. Why not?
"For some reason the NBA had a rule for many years prohibiting playersfrom wearing single digits," Auerbach says, "although it wasn't always followed closely around the league."
With 13 Celtic numbers already retired, and a 14th soon to follow, the supply is dwindling and there may be a return to single digits by future Celts.-
Is No. 13 unlucky?
Mike (Red) Wallace was the first Celtic to wear it, in 1946 - and became the first Celt traded (to Toronto for Chuck Hoefer after only 24 games in a Boston uniform).
No Celtic has worn No. 13 in nearly 30 years - since Bob (Gabby) Harris in 1953-54.
There's no club rule against that number, according to Auerbach. "Nobody has asked for it," he shrugs.
Tiny Archibald came close to using it - in fact, he did on his first day of practice as a Celtic in 1978. Because No. 1, which he'd worn previously as a pro, was unavailable, Archibald opted for No. 7. Told that number belonged to Ernie DiGregorio, Tiny's next choice was No. 13. But when DiGregorio decided not to report and retired, Archibald turned in 13 for 7.- A number of Celtics have worn numbers other than their own for a game or three.
Don Nelson once used No. 30 on a West Coast trip when he misplaced his jersey 19.
When Dave Cowens' No. 18 was left back in Boston he literally took the No. 34 off Jim Ard's back for a game in Hartford - leaving Ard shirtless under his warmups.
And when Steve Kuberski's jersey couldn't be found one night in Buffalo, he and Bailey Howell swapped Howell's No. 18 back and forth. As they spelled each other at the same forward position, the outcoming player gave the shirt off his back to his replacement reminiscent of a schoolboy jayvee game.
Another Celtic who'd forgotten his jersey wore a makeshift No. 36 t Hartford one night in the mid-'70s. Trainer Frank Challant commandeered the extra jersey Paul Silas always carried (he wore two a game, switching at halftime) and utilized a piece of tape to convert the 5 in Silas' 35 to a 6.
Togo Palazzi's costume was more bizarre one day at Syracuse. The rookie forgot to pack his "road" green shorts for a 1955 playoff game so borrowed a pair from the home-team Nationals - and played decked out in kelly-green jersey and flaming orange shorts, resembling an animated (take your pick) Italian or Irish flag.
Another Holy Cross alumnus had uniform trouble during a Celtic game at Providence.
Tom Heinsohn's jersey was misplaced, and there are two versions of how the problem was solved. Some observers recall that Heinsohn wore a jersey from the defunct Providence Steamrollers found in an old trunk at Rhode Island Auditorium. Heinsohn recalls that he wore a Celtic jersey turned inside out.
That's what a Los Angeles Laker sported during a Garden game in the late '60s when he arrived sans uniform top. Jerry Chambers borrowed a Celtic road jersey to go with his Laker pants - a jarring green-and-purple combination not easily forgotten.-
Eleven Celtics have worn two numbers. The switch usually has been madebecause (1) the number the player wanted was taken when he joined the team, and he grabbed it when it became available, or (2) the player surrendered his number to a newcomer who coveted it.
The latter is the reason Cedric Maxwell changed to No. 31 in 1979- 80 after wearing No. 30 two seasons. That's the number M.L. Carr wanted when he joined the Celtics - not only having worn No. 30 with the Detroit Pistons, but having jewelry and other mementos inscribed with it.
"We negotiated a little," the happy Carr explained after prying Jersey 30from Maxwell.
Steve Kuberski and Don Chaney join Maxwell as the most recent Celtics to use different numbers. Each wore different numerals during two tours as Celtics. Can you recall those numbers? You're right if you remembered that Chaney had 12 and 42, Kuberski 11 and 33.
The other Celts to use two numbers: Tony Lavelli (4 & 11), Clyde Lovellette (4 & 34), John Thompson (5 & 18), Lou Tsioropoulos (20 & 29), Bob Harris (13 & 18), John Ezersky (10 & 16), Jack (Dutch) Garfinkel (15 & 21) and Gerard Kelly (14 & 24).
Kelly and Garfinkel - veterans of the late-'40s - have the distinction of each wearing two numbers that would be retired in appreciation of later Celtics. Kelly donned No. 14 while Bob Cousy was still at Holy Cross and No. 24 a decade before New Englanders had heard of Sam Jones. And Tom Heinsohn was in elementary school when Garfinkel slipped into No. 15, and Bill Sharman starring at USC when Dutch wore No. 21.- Had enough?
If not, read on and probe the numbers listed on each side of this page. How many do you recall?
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