On this day in Boston Celtics history, the National Basketball Association as we know it today was born in 1949, with the Boston Celtics being a foundational franchise in it.
It was formed from the merger of the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL – not to be confused with the Australian league of today with the same name, or any of several less-prominent leagues of the same name) which predated the BAA by a dozen years. The Celtics had been part of the BAA since its inception three years earlier, a league formed mainly by arena owners trying to find novel ways to fill their venues.
Boston benefited greatly from the merger of the two leagues via players they drafted from the dispersal drafts of teams that did not join the newly formed NBA, like Ed Macauley.
The new league would have 17 teams playing in some of the larger arenas in the United States.
And while it would lose a number of those teams in its first few seasons, it would then slowly grow into the 30-team league we know today.
It was also on this date in 1999 that Celtic forward Ron Mercer was traded with Popeye Jones and Dwayne Schintzius to the Denver Nuggets for Danny Fortson, Eric Washington, Eric Williams, and draft assets.
Mercer had been drafted by Boston with the sixth overall pick of the 1997 NBA draft out of Kentucky and had played for Boston since, averaging 15.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game as a Celtic.
The trade that sent Boston big man Jérôme Moïso to the Philadelphia 76ers for forward Roshown McLeod (who would be waived) also occurred today in 2001.
The Parisian had been drafted out of UCLA by the Celtics with the 11th overall pick of the 2000 NBA draft and put up 1.5 points and 1.8 boards while with Boston.
Former Celtic point guard Wayne Turner signed with Boston as an undrafted free agent on this date in 1999, having played his NCAA ball with Kentucky.
The Boston native didn’t stick with his hometown team, however — he would be waived that November after scoring 1.3 points, a rebound, and 1.7 assists per game over three contests as a Celtic.
It is also the birthday of ex-Boston point guard Doug Overton, who came into this world in 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Signing with the team in free agency in 1999, the LaSalle product would play 48 games for the Celtics, in which he averaged 3.2 points and 1.1 assists.
Finally, it is also the date that we lost Dick Hemric in 2017.
The Wake Forest product was taken by Boston with the 12th overall pick of the 1955 NBA draft, and played two seasons with the Celtics, winning a title in a reserve role in 1957 — Boston’s first.
The Jonesville, North Carolina native averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with Boston — rest in peace.
Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:
Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6
[lawrence-auto-related count=1 category=590969556]