The Original Celtics were a barnstorming professional American basketball team. At various times in their existence, the team played in the American Basketball League, the Eastern Basketball League and the Metropolitan Basketball League. The team has no relation to the NBA Boston Celtics, other than as an indirect inspiration. The franchise as a whole was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959.
The team's roots lay in the New York Celtics team that disbanded during World War I. In 1918, James Furey assembled his own team around a nucleus of those truly "original" Celtics, adding other players mostly from the West Side of New York City, and defiantly called his new squad the Original Celtics. Initially they played in various struggling professional leagues, before becoming primarily a touring squad which traveled up to 150,000 miles a year while completing a 150–200 game schedule. They won about ninety percent of their games and finished 1922–23 with the unbelievable record of 193–11–1. Hoping to claim an undisputed national championship, they challenged the nationally famous Franklin Wonder Five, but the Franklin coach refused as his team "was too tired" after a grueling year.
The team's first dominant player was "Dutch" Dehnert, a 6'1" (1.85 m) standing guard whom some credit with introducing the modern concept of pivot play. When ballhandling wizard Nat Holman (later to coach national championship teams at CCNY) was signed to play for then-coach John Whitty in 1922, the Original Celtics hit their stride.
During the 1921/22 season, the team replaced the New York Giants, whose owner also owned the Whirlwinds during the 1st half. During the 1922/23 season, the team took over the Atlantic City franchise when it was 4–7 and won five of six games before the Eastern League folded in January, 1923. They also competed in the Metropolitan League but dropped out of the league during the 1st half after going 12–0.
Other outstanding individual players on these squads were another "big man", Joe Lapchick; John Beckman, called the "Babe Ruth of Basketball"; George "Horse" Haggerty; John "Pete" Barry; and speedy Davey Banks.