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TN's Tidbits: NBA has come a long way

November 10, 2010

Great column today by my old pal Bill Reynolds over there at the ProJo on how the Boston Celtics used to play games at the R.I. Auditorium back in the 1950s. They even had doubleheaders, meaning four of the eight teams that then comprised the NBA were in Rhode Island at the same time.

I saw the same stuff growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Into the early 1960s, we would still have the occasional preseason NBA doubleheader at our local high school gymnasium, which seated about 2,000 people. Clearly remember Wilt Chamberlain of the old Philadelphia Warriors walking into our gym, ducking his head to get through the 7-foot high doorway. The Celtics never came to our gym because they were too big a draw but we saw the New York Knicks and the Syracuse Nationals a few times. The Nats eventually became the 76ers after the Warriors skipped down in 1962 and headed to San Francisco, taking Wilt with them.

The Chicago Bullets came to my old gym in 1963 with one of the all-time forgotten centers, Walter (Ding Dong) Bellamy, a 7-footer who could stand up to Wilt and Russell on the nights he was paying attention. Bellamy averaged 31 points per game in his rookie season and eventually was named to the NBA Hall of Fame. In today's NBA, he would take Chris Bosh and stuff him in his back pocket.

So thanks for the memories, Bill. That sure was a long time ago.


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