Today in Celtics history: Jim O'Brien, Tony Battie born

Today, February 11th is the 65th anniversary of the birth of former Boston Celtics head coach James "Jim" Francis Xavier O'Brien.

O'Brien, who joined the Celtics along with his boss as an assistant coach at Kentucky (Rick Pitino), served as assistant in Boston as well under Tricky Rick for three and a half seasons before assuming head coaching duties in the wake of Pitino's resignation in the middle of the 2000-01 season. He would continue in that role for another three and a half seasons until resigning himself, in protest over newly-hired General Manager Danny Ainge's decision to move two of his favorite players, Eric Williams and Tony Battie, as part of a rebuild roster tear-down.

In an unusual coincidence, it also happens to be the birthday of Mr. Battie, who joined the Celts in the sophomore season of his career (1998-99) after being drafted by the Denver Nuggets fifth in the 1997 NBA Draft. Tony struggled early in his career, prompting then-general manager of the Nuggets Dan Issel referred to him as "El Busto'', but managed to become a reliable rotation player in his time in Boston. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.9 boards per game over the six season duration, until he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers with Kedrick Brown and Eric Williams in exchange for Ricky Davis, Michael Stewart, Chris Mihm, and a second-round pick, triggering the resignation of the coach with whom he shares a birthday. For a little more on Tony's time in Boston, check out this post, too.

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