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The Hall of Fame committee has released the names of 12 finalists for this year's Hall of Fame inductees.  Among the 12 names 3 have Celtic ties:  Don Nelson, Bill Fitch and He Who Must Not Be Named aka Rick Pitino. 

Don Nelson was drafted by the Chicago Zephyrs and after a year, was traded to the Lakers.  After 2 years with the Lakers he was released and signed by the Celtics in 1965.  Nelly was a key contributor in helping the Celtics win titles in 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, and 1976.  One of the best memories of Nelly's time in Boston was a shot he took in the 1969 finals.  The Celtics were clinging to a 103-102 lead with just over a minute to go in the game.  Nelly's shot hit the back of the rim, bounced straight up what looked like 2 or 3 feet and then dropped through the net to seal the win for the Celtics.  Don Nelson has gone on to coach from 1976 through 2010 but has not coached the Celtics.  With 1335 wins, he is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history. 


Bill Fitch was the first outsider chosen to coach the Celtics.  Until Red tabbed Fitch, every coach had come from inside the Celtics organization.  A former Marine Corps drill instructor, he was the perfect coach for Larry Bird's rookie year.  Larry reacted well to the disciplined methods of Fitch and the result was a championship in 1981.   Fitch was replaced by the soft spoken KC Jones and he went on to coach the Rockets  against the Celtics in the 1986 finals. 

Rick Pitino was the coach of the Celtics from 1997 - 2001.  He demanded full control over the team and as a result was given the title of team president, which has previously only been held by Red Auerbach.  Pitino then proceeded to all but destroy the team with bad decisions and poor draft picks.  About the only positive thing he did in his tenure with the Celtics was to draft Paul Pierce, which had to have been Red's decision because it was so out of character for Pitino to actually pick a good player.  He is perhaps most famous for his rant in one press conference about how Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish weren't walking through that door and if they did they would be gray and old.  He also let it be known that the negativity in Boston sucks.  Funny, when he left so did most of the negativity.   Pitino is being honored by the Hall for his college career and not his pro career and so I doubt they will consider the fact that he almost single handedly destroyed one of the most storied franchises in sports. 

FLCeltsFan 2/25/2012 01:01:00 PM Edit
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