If you look up into the rafters of the Boston TD Garden, you’ll see the banners of retired numbers hanging up there. The first retired number up there is 1. #1 belongs to Walter Brown, and here is why.
On the sixth of June in 1946, Walter Brown, who was the President of the Boston Garden Arena Corporation, formed the Boston Celtics as part of the Basketball Association of America. He became the founder and original owner of the team.
He believed so much that the Boston Garden (and the city) should have a basketball team, that he took a mortgage out on his house in order to make that dream a reality. Brown was a huge advocate and influence in the merging of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League, into what is now the National Basketball Association.
As fans of the Boston Celtics, we owe everything to Walter Brown. Let’s take a moment and reflect on what we have thanks to him:
He also drafted Chuck Cooper in 1950, who at the time became the first African American drafted into the NBA
The NBA championship trophy was named the “Walter Brown Trophy”, until 1984.
It was Brown’s stable business skills that allowed him to make negotiations and trade proposals that benefited the team in the strongest ways. Back then, it seemed like every year the draft was stronger and stronger.
Hell, he was able to land both Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn in the same draft, which started another era in Boston Celtics history. The following eight seasons resulted in the Celtics winning seven championships.
Before Walter Brown died in 1964, he accomplished so much in life. As I mentioned earlier, he was a huge influence in creating the NBA. He also did something similar with hockey as well.
He was essentially the “landlord” of the Boston Bruins, as he was the manager of the Boston Garden. He coached the Bruins farm team, Boston Olympics, to many league championships. In 1951 he finally bought the Bruins.
If you’re a fan of the Celtics, the Bruins, or the NBA, you have Walter Brown to thank for that. Without his efforts back in the 1940’s, we would not be the franchise we are today.
As we approach the seventy-third birthday of our historic franchise, I wanted to take some time for us to appreciate not only what Walter Brown did for the NBA, but what he did for our Boston Celtics. Truly amazing and inspirational.
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