Building on Hallowed Ground: The Boston Celtics New Parquet Basketball Court
2 years ago
Champions of Sport: Building on Hallowed Ground
Written by: Happy Fine
Transcribed by: Phil Esposito
Hallowed ground. Think about that for a moment. In the world of American Sports, it can be found in venues like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Cameron Indoor Stadium – home to Duke University basketball, Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge where 95,000 crazed LSU fans gather on autumn Saturday nights, Augusta National…say no more.
In the NBA, the description fits perfectly for the parquet floor in the old Boston Garden. On this old red oak portable floor, dating back to the birth of the franchise in 1946, the Boston Celtics won 16 World Championships. With its unique parquet design of oak floors (99% of basketball courts are maple), this unusual venue has become almost as much a signature of the Celtics as the unparalleled success of the team. No other American professional franchise (in major sports) has won more than five consecutive championships. Between 1959 and 1966, the “Green” won eight in a row. This was part of the storied Bill Russell Era which boasted 11 Championships in 13 years.
Each April during the 1950’s and 60’s, fans around the nation with otherwise only passing interest in the NBA, would gather around the old black-and-white television set to watch Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, Bill Sharman and the crew raise another Championship banner in the Garden rafters high above the parquet floor.
During the Seventies, Dave Cowens, with notable support from Havlicek, paved the way to two more Celtics Championships. With the playoffs expanding, the seasons lingered into May along with the image of the unmistakable parquet. In the Eighties, the franchise was rejuvenated once more with the arrival of the incomparable Larry Bird, who guided Boston to three more World Championships. Thus basketball fans around America were gazing at the parquet all spring long, right into June.
The emotional attachment in Boston and around America runs very deep. When the old Boston Garden was finally torn down (1995) and replaced with a new facility on the same site, the parquet floor came along with it. However, as the turn of the century approached, the time came for a new portable floor to replace it. Our own Randy Randjelovic, who is a long time Celtics fan, watched them play on the parquet while growing up in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Randy (square by square) proudly reproduced a brand new red oak portable floor as a replacement. While we provided the floor, the Celtics security force carefully guarded the demolition and sold off sections of the old floor. Meanwhile, many season ticket holders looking at Randy’s faithfully reproduced court the next season could hardly tell the difference. However, the Celtics players could. This time there were no dead spots.
In 2008, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo led the Celts to their 17th and most recent Championship. This year, when time came around again for a new floor, who else would the Celtics turn to but Connor Sports, Kenvo Floor Co. and Randy Randjelovic. At Connor Sports, we are all very proud and excited to lead this project. How often do you get an opportunity to carry on the tradition of truly hallowed ground?