On this day in Boston Celtics history, franchise legends Kevin McHale, Wayne Embry, and John Thompson were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. McHale had been drafted by the Celtics out of the University of Minnesota with the third overall pick of the 1980 NBA draft.
That deal for that pick, which Boston had acquired along with big man Robert Parish in exchange for the top overall pick of that draft, was widely considered to be one of the most lopsided deals in league history. McHale would have an immediate impact on the young core being built around forward phenomenon Larry Bird.
Along with Parish, forward Cedric Maxwell, point guard Dennis Johnson and shooting guard Danny Ainge, the Celtics would form a dynasty he would win three championships with in the 1980s.
McHale would also be elected to seven All-Star and six All-Defensive teams, an All-NBA First Team, and win Sixth Man of the Year twice, among many other honors.
He would average 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and as many blocks per game for his career, all played with the Celtics.
Wayne Embry had already had a long career as a perpetual thorn in the side of the Celtics with the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings) before famed Celtics center Bill Russell talked Embry out of retirement for one last hurrah with Boston.
The Ohio native agreed and got a ring for his troubles with the Celtics in 1968 to go with his five All-Star game appearances. He recorded 5.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game over two seasons with Boston.
While far from a Celtics lifer, big man John Thompson made a lot of noise as a player in just two short seasons with Boston.
Drafted out of Providence College by the franchise in 1964, he would go on to win two championships with the Celtics, in 1965 and 1966.
Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 NBA Expansion draft, Thompson instead chose to retire and become a coach, where he was wildly successful — enough so that he entered the Hall on that record.
He averaged 3.5 points and as many boards with Boston over two seasons.
It is also the anniversary of big man Fred Roberts being taken by the Miami Heat in the 1988 NBA expansion draft. Held to populate the rosters of the new Heat and Charlotte Hornets franchises, Roberts was the only Celtics player taken by either team.
Roberts came to the team in 1986 via trade from the Utah Jazz (for the pick that became Billy Donovan, oddly enough), and would play two seasons for Boston, logging 5.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and an assist per contest over that stretch.
The 2011 NBA draft was also held on this date, in which the Celtics took two players of note. The first involved drafting and then trading guard MarShon Brooks for forward JaJuan Johnson to the (then) New Jersey (now, Brooklyn) Nets, the Indiana native a product of Purdue.
Johnson would play one season for the Celtics, recording 3.2 points and 1.6 boards per game before being dealt with E’Twaun Moore and Sean Williams in a three-team deal that netted Boston wing Courtney Lee from the Houston Rockets.
Speaking of Moore, the Celtics drafted the East Chicago native with the 55th overall pick of the 2011 draft and also played for Boston that single, proximate season.
Moore averaged 2.9 points and 0.9 boards and assists per game in that season
The 2016 NBA draft was held on the same date, in which the Celtics took four players of note.
The first was wing Jaylen Brown, taken with the No. 3 pick out of Cal-Berkeley. The Georgia native has had an outstanding start to his Celtics career, earning All-Rookie and All-Star nods in his first five seasons in the league while helping propel Boston to the NBA Finals in 2022.
Boston also took forward Guerschon Yabusele No. 16 overall as a draft-and-stash candidate. Yabu, as he is sometimes called, did not work out for the Celtics but was a fan favorite nonetheless.
His other nickname, the “Dancing Bear,” referenced his nimbleness for such a big player, and he would record a 2.3 point, 1.4 rebound average with Boston over two seasons.
Ante Žižić of Croatia was selected with the No. 23 overall pick but never played with the team.
Former Providence Friar Ben Bentil was taken 51st overall but also did not play for the Celtics.
He would be waived by the team before the season started and has since moved on to other leagues.
Abdel Nader, drafted No. 58 overall out of Iowa State, was the rare late-draft success story.
He would play a single season for the Celtics, averaging 3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game with the team before being dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Rodney Purvis.
Today is the birthday of point guard Mike James, a product of Duquesne who came to the Celtics as a free agent after two seasons playing for the Heat.
A native of New York, James played 55 games for Boston in the 2003-04 season, averaging 10.7 points, 3.2 boards, and 4.4 assists per game for the team before being dealt to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 offseason.
It is also Acie Earl’s birthday, with the Peoria, Illinois native coming into the world in 1970 on this date. Boston’s 19th overall pick of the 1993 NBA draft, Earl played his college ball with Iowa.
He played 104 games over two seasons for the Celtics, putting up 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game before he was picked up by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft.
It is also the date the Celtics hired their last head coach Ime Udoka in 2021. Formerly an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and San Antonio Spurs, where he played and coached under the legendary Gregg Popovich.
Udoka helped propel the team to a second-place finish and a 51-31 season, taking Boston to the precipice of Banner 18 in the postseason, losing the Finals to the Golden State Warriors in 6 games — a rare level of success for a first-year head coach.
The scandal that led to his ouster the following offseason bookended a very unusual epoch of Celtics history.
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Source: Yahoo Sports