ex-Boston big man John Mahnken born; former owner Louis Pieri passes

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On this day, former Boston Celtics big man John Mahnken was born in 1922 in West New York, New Jersey.

A 6-foot-8, 220 lb. alum of Georgetown University, Mahnken would be signed by the Rochester Royals (now known as the Sacramento Kings) of the National Basketball League (NBL — a competing league that would later be absorbed by the NBA) after returning from service in the second world war. The former Hoya signed with the Washington Capitals of the Basketball Association of America (BAA – a precursor league to the NBA) after the war in 1946, where he would see a face that would become quite familiar in his later life.

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It just so happened to be coached by a one Red Auerbach, later to be his coach in Boston as well.

Mahnken would be traded a total of five times before landing with the Celtics in 1951 for the first multi-season stretch of his career since it began.

He spent four seasons total playing for Boston, recording 3.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.

It would be the last stop of a seven-season career pre-dating even the BAA, after which Mahnken would virtually disappear from professional basketball circles until shortly before he passed in 2000.

It is also the day that former team minority owner Louis Pieri left us in 1967,

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Former owner of the (defunct) Providence Steamrollers franchise, Pieri helped Celtics founder Walter A. Brown navigate the treacherous waters of the early NBA after his own team went under, eventually becoming a minority owner.

After Brown passed, he and Brown’s wife Marjorie split ownership of the team until the pair could both sell the franchise to Ruppert Knickerbocker Brewing Company in 1965 — rest in peace.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire

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