A Hall of Fame-worthy jersey once donned by pro basketball pioneer Joe Lapchick has been uncovered through an SCP Auctions consignment.
Tucked away for decades in the possession of a family that once had a connection to the legendary center, the green New York “Original Celtics” jersey is expected to sell for $250,000 or more. It’s the only known Lapchick jersey ever to surface.
SCP Auctions President David Kohler told SC Daily that the jersey “surely belongs in one of the finest basketball collections in the world.” It’s not yet certain whether the jersey will be sold privately or offered in an upcoming auction.
Born in 1900, Lapchick became one of pro basketball’s first big stars, playing for the Original Celtics, a 1920s New York-based barnstorming club that later joined the American Basketball League. The game’s first agile big man, the 6’5 Lapchick starred for the Celtics, a team so dominant they were asked to disband. Lapchick and two other former Celtics then hooked on with the Cleveland Rosenblums, another ABL team sponsored by a department store owner.
After the Great Depression, Lapchick helped re-form the Celtics and continued traveling the country for five more years until he became the St. John’s University head coach in 1936. He left there to coach the New York Knicks to three straight NBA Finals appearances in 1951, ’52 and ’53. Lapchick later returned to St. John’s for a second stint that ended in 1965. Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1966, he passed away four years later.
The green Reach Sporting Goods jersey is made of wool with the Celtics logo on the front and Lapchick’s number 4 on the back. According to SCP Auctions, It was originally given by Lapchick to Harry Glynn, who lived nearby in Yonkers, NY. Glynn was known to have associations with high-profile local athletes, writing them into plays and acting performances that he had written.
Glynn later passed the jersey to his teenage son James, who pursued a career in radio broadcasting and moved to the Midwest years later. The jersey has never left the Glynn family.
“We are extremely thrilled to offer one of the finest rarities in early professional basketball to surface in a very long time,” Kohler stated. “This is sure to have a ton of interest for the advanced basketball aficionados that appreciate the history of the sport of basketball.”
In September, SCP sold an original Celtics signed team photo for over $6,000.