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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Justin Quinn

On this date: former Celtic Jim Barnes passes; Kenny Rollins born

On this day in Boston Celtics history, big man Jim Barnes passed away at age 61 in 2002. Barnes, a native of Tuckerman, Arkansas, played his college basketball at the University of Texas-El Paso and was selected with the top overall pick of the 1964 NBA draft by the New York Knicks.

“Bad News” Barnes (as he was sometimes called) played with that team, the (then) Baltimore Bullets (now, Washington Wizards), Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls before having his rights sold by the Bulls to the Celtics in 1968. Hampered by injury at this point in his career, Hampton still helped the Celtics in the regular season on their way to a title in 1969, backing up Bill Russell in his two seasons with the team.

Barnes averaged 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a Celtic.

It is also the birthday of former Celtic point guard Kenny Rollins, born this day in 1923 in Charleston, Missouri.

A product of the University of Kentucky, Rollins was drafted by the (then) Fort Wayne (now, Detroit) Pistons in the 1948 Basketball Association of America (BAA – a precursor league of the NBA) draft, but never suited up for that team.

Instead, he played for the (now defunct) Chicago Stags for two seasons and another with the Louisville (Kentucky) Alumnites of the National Professional Basketball League (another predecessor league to the NBA) between 1948 and 1951.

Rollins took a season off from playing before joining Boston in 1952, where he averaged 2.3 points, a rebound and 1.1 assists per game.

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