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Don Nelson: The originator of Nellie Ball


        Don Nelson aka "Nellie", if you can imagine, played for the Zephyrs and - yuck - the Lakers, but made his home as a Celtic. He won 5 rings with the Celtics and his number 19 hangs in the rafters. He signed with the Celtics in 1965. Nellie had a unique shooting style that honestly will never be replicated. 

     In his first year as a Celtic he averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds a game, helping the Celtics to defeat the Lakers in the 1966 Finals, Talk about sweet redemption, beating the team that let you walk - or was it Red stole him away! He was the epitome of the 6th man back in the day. In 67/68 he averaged double figures under Bill Russell as coach. In the 68 Finals he averaged 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists - not too shabby! 

      His most career defining moment came in Game 7 in 1969 vs the Lakers. He hit a foul line jumper that dropped through the basket after hitting the back rim and bounced as high as the rafters themselves in LA! Celtics were up by one at the time and that shot was crucial! In 73/74 under the great Tommy Heinsohn he was tasked with starting game 7 vs the Bucks and helped deliver another title to Boston. 

     In 74/75 he led the NBA in field goal percentage - pretty impressive given the stars of his day. In 75/76 he took home his fifth title with the greatest basketball organization ever. He was and will always be referred to as one of the best 6th men to ever play the game. Plus that distinct one handed free throw style only he had! 

     He had the most regular season wins in NBA history with 1335 games! His game was labeled Nellie Ball which consisted of a small lineup of guards and forwards only. He also invented Hack a Shaq! He won a gold medal in 94 with Dream Team 2! He's in the  Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach and in this writers opinion belongs as a player. Especially when you allow players like Chris Bosh who doesn't have the resume like Nellie did! Let's get Nellie in as a player! 

     

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