Boston Garden Retired "1" Banner of Celtics Owner Walter Brown
As general manager of the Boston Garden, Walter Brown was a prime mover in forming the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the forerunner to the NBA. Brown was considered one of the country's foremost sports figures. He was instrumental in creating the Stanley Cup, the Ice Follies, the Ice Capades, the Boston Marathon and the amalgamation of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the BAA into the NBA in June, 1946. He started the first All-Star game in 1951, which of course was played in Boston. When Brown passed away in 1964, the NBA honored him by naming the championship trophy in his honor. Brown's biggest accomplishment was his involvement with the most storied franchise in NBA history, the Boston Celtics. Brown founded the Celtics in 1945 and served as co-owner and president. His string of six NBA championships in seven years showed his shrewd business side, but many who knew Walter Brown described him as "down-to-earth, honest, and imaginative." On October 17, 1964 the Boston nation honored Brown by retiring the number "1", a month after his death. This oversized white canvas with green number and trim hung from the rafters in Boston Garden for decades. There is light water staining from what appears to be a result of leaks in the roof. Legend has it, when the Boston Garden closed its doors in 1997, the retired numbers were taken down. The retired banner of Walter Brown was handed to a member of the famous "Bull Gang", the crew that used to set up the parquet floor for the Celtics games and then strip it for the Bruins games, "You were our number one!" said his boss. The banner remained in their possession for several years, until it was obtained by our consignor and offered here for the first time. The banner is accompanied by several photos picturing legendary Celtics like Russell and Heinsohn battling at the basket with the "1" banner hanging above.