Tom "Satch" Sanders - #16 - Boston Celtics

Forward | 6'6" | 210 lbs. | Born: November 8, 1938

  • Played all 13 seasons with Celtics
  • Eight-time NBA champion
  • No. 16 retired by Celtics
  • 2011 Inductee of the Basketball Hall of Fame

Drafted eighth overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1960 NBA Draft.

Tom Sanders

Tom Sanders - Biography

#16

There aren’t many native New Yorkers who become sports heroes in the city of Boston. Celtics Legend Tom “Satch” Sanders is a member of that exclusive group.

Sanders was born on Nov. 8, 1938 in New York City and went on to attend New York University in his hometown. His legendary basketball career began to blossom as he excelled with the NYU Violets from 1957-60.

NYU experienced incredible success while Sanders was on the roster. In fact, the basketball team made one of its two trips to the Final Four in 1959-60. Sanders captained that team, which went 22-5 and wound up falling to Ohio State in the Final Four.

In addition to NYU’s success as a team with Sanders on board, the lanky collegiate center put together a stellar individual career. His name can still be seen on nearly every page of the team’s record book. As of 2013, he ranks as the following in school history: second in career rebounds with 923 boards; third in career rebounding average with 13.0 rebounds per game; eighth in career scoring average with 16.8 points per game; and ninth in field goal percentage with a conversion rate of 51.6 percent.

With all of those numbers in tow, Sanders was a hot commodity heading into the 1960 NBA Draft. The Boston Celtics were fortunate enough to have him fall into their laps with the eighth overall pick.

Sanders went on to play all 13 of his NBA seasons with the Celtics as a forward. He retired following the 1972-73 season with modest career statistics of 9.6 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, but those numbers are not an indication of his impact or level of success. The only number that matters in regard to Sanders’ career is eight, which is the number of championships he helped bring to Boston.

Sanders walked into a developing Celtics dynasty and he became a key piece of the franchise’s ongoing success. The team had won the league’s two previous championships before it drafted Sanders and then went on to win the next six with him on board.

Playing alongside stars like Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Bob Cousy, Sanders wasn’t leaned on to provide starry numbers. Instead, he was given a role to rebound and play shutdown defense.

Sanders accepted his rugged role with grace and dominance. He was the man that Red Auerbach would use to slow down stars such as Willis Reed, Elgin Baylor and Jerry Lucas. Without his defense and strong rebounding, Boston’s dynasty may not have been quite as prominent.

There are only two players in NBA history, Russell and Jones – both of whom happened to be his teammates – who have more championship rings than Sanders’ eight. As is well documented with the Celtics, success is judged by titles, and that’s why the team retired Sanders’ No. 16 jersey on Jan. 19, 1973. Additionally, the basketball world honored Sanders by electing him into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2011.

Sanders went on to dabble in coaching, both with the Celtics and at the collegiate level, and has had a successful career as Director of Player Programs with the NBA. However, he will always be known for his success on the court with Boston.

That’s a rarity for a native New Yorker, but it’s well deserved for such a title-filled career.

TOM "SATCH" SANDERS

Height: 6'6" Weight: 210 LBS Birth: 11/08/38 College: NEW YORK UNIVERSITY '60
First round draft choice (the 8th pick overall) in 1960... retired in 1973.

Regular Season Record
Year G MIN FGM FGA PCT FTM FTA PCT OFF DEF TOT AST PF-DQ ST BL PTS AVG
60-61 68 1084 148 352 .420 67 100 .670 - - 385 44 131-1 - - 363 5.3
61-62 80 2325 350 804 .435 197 263 .749 - - 762 74 279-9 - - 897 11.2
62-63 80 2148 339 744 .456 186 252 .738 - - 576 95 262-5 - - 864 10.8
63-64 80 2370 349 836 .417 213 280 .761 - - 667 102 277-6 - - 911 11.4
64-65 80 2459 374 871 .429 193 259 .745 - - 661 92 318-15 - - 941 11.8
65-66 72 1896 349 816 .428 211 276 .764 - - 508 90 317-19 - - 909 12.6
66-67 81 1926 323 755 .428 178 218 .817 - - 439 91 304-6 - - 824 10.2
67-68 78 1981 296 691 .428 200 255 .784 - - 454 100 300-12 - - 792 10.2
68-69 82 2184 364 847 .430 187 255 .733 - - 574 110 293-3 - - 915 11.2
69-70 57 1616 246 555 .443 161 183 .880 - - 314 92 199-5 - - 653 11.5
70-71 17 121 16 44 .364 7 8 .875 - - 17 11 25-0 - - 39 2.3
71-72 82 1631 215 524 .410 111 136 .816 - - 353 98 257-7 - - 541 6.6
72-73 59 423 47 149 .315 23 35 .657 - - 88 27 82-0 - - 117 2.0
TOTALS 916 22164 3416 7988 .428 1934 2520 .767 - - 5798 1026 3044-94 - - 8766 9.6
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Playoff Record
60-61 10 216 37 75 .493 15 24 .625 - - 84 7 42-2 - - 89 8.9
61-62 14 439 56 130 .431 29 36 .806 - - 115 14 65-4 - - 141 10.1
62-63 13 387 52 119 .437 24 31 .774 - - 96 19 61-4 - - 128 9.8
63-64 10 292 34 94 .362 23 34 .676 - - 71 6 45-5 - - 91 9.1
64-65 12 365 64 152 .421 31 43 .721 - - 102 19 58-4 - - 159 13.3
65-66 17 500 97 201 .483 36 48 .750 - - 110 27 70-2 - - 230 13.5
66-67 9 144 21 61 .344 2 5 .400 - - 43 5 31-1 - - 44 4.9
67-68 14 289 50 99 .505 16 21 .762 - - 63 12 53-4 - - 116 8.3
68-69 15 197 32 73 .438 23 31 .742 - - 48 7 40-0 - - 87 5.8
71-72 11 186 17 53 .321 13 21 .619 - - 26 10 36-0 - - 47 4.3
72-73 5 24 5 9 .556 0 2 .000 - - 5 1 7-0 - - 10 2.0
TOTALS 130 3039 465 1066 .436 212 296 .716 - - 763 127 508-26 - - 1142 8.8
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