The Boston Celtics’ NBA dynasty was just getting started thanks to the arrival of a game-changing player from the University of San Francisco. While Bill Russell’s impact was enormous, the Celts were a team and one of the players who shared that first NBA championship with the future Hall of Fame center was Lou Tsioropolous, a former University of Kentucky standout. The 1956-57 title ring presented to the late forward is the Heritage Auctions Consignment of the Week. It’s being offered in the company’s November Platinum Auction where it’s expected to sell for $30,000 or more.
No other player-worn ’57 Celtics championship ring has ever been offered at public auction. Another, created by coach Red Auerbach for his wife, sold for over $80,000 in 2011.
The ring is the first of two Tsioropoulos won in his four years with Boston. The backup to starting small forward Tom Heinsohn, he averaged 4.4 points and 4 rebounds per game during the ’56-57 season. He came to Boston after a stint in the U.S. Air Force following his college career playing for Adolph Rupp but had been originally been drafted by Boston in 1953 following his graduation. Tsioropoulos had played a major role in UK’s 1951 NCAA Championship but a point-shaving scandal at the school spoiled what would have been his senior season of ’53. Tsiropoulos returned to play at Kentucky after graduation in 1954.
The size 13 ½ ring has a diamond center, encircled by raised text reading “World Champions” and “1957” accompanied by a shamrock logo and bannered “Celtics”. Tsiorpoulos wore the ring for much of his life, which has dulled some of the features but his name is engraved in block lettering on the interior and remains bold. It comes with a letter of authenticity from the Tsiorpoulos family.
You can see the listing here.