Basketball Hall of Fame display, including Larry Bird's sneaker, Paul Pierce's jersey, and Robert Parish's 20,000th career point ball

Pregame Post-Ups: HOF Announces New Exhibit That Will Highlight Celtics History

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

In a first-ever scenario Friday night, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame held a press conference at TD Garden ahead of a Celtics game in order to make a first-ever announcement. The Basketball Hall of Fame announced that it will soon be launching a new yearly exhibit titled “The Vault,” which in its first year of existence will feature an exclusive gallery detailing the history of the Boston Celtics.

John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was on hand to make the announcement. He stated that the purpose behind the new exhibit is to bring a new element to the Hall of Fame each and every year.

“One thing we learned was, it’s almost like running an amusement park, right?” he commented. “So you need a new rollercoaster or some thrill ride every year, so that you can keep people coming back and keep them interested.”

For the first year of its existence, that thrill ride will revolve around the history of the most storied franchise in the history of the sport.

Doleva and Celtics Team President Rich Gotham stated that there will be items in the gallery that highlight the entire existence of the Celtics, but noted that there will be a strong emphasis on current times. In fact, Jayson Tatum and Paul Pierce are the voices of the gallery.

Some of the items from the gallery were on display during the press conference, including:

  • Larry Bird’s Converse sneaker from the 1985-86 season, during which he won the league’s MVP award and the Celtics won the NBA championship.
  • Paul Pierce’s special St. Patrick’s Day uniform from the 2008 championship season.
  • Robert Parish’s 20,000th point ball.

Some other items that will be on display, among many others, are highlighted below:

  • Eleven championship rings, including Bob Cousy’s from 1957, Sam Jones’ from 1959, Red Auerbach’s from 1962 and 1974 and Jo Jo White’s from 1976, among others.
  • Ray Allen’s game-worn and champagne-stained jersey from the 2008 championship clinch game.
  • The championship trophy from 1981.
  • Larry Bird’s clogs that he wore with the 1992 Dream Team.
  • Larry Bird’s 20,000th point ball.

Gotham said that what he appreciates most about the gallery is that it “creates a thread, starting with Red (Auerbach) and (Bill) Russell, all the way through to [Jayson Tatum] and [Jaylen Brown] today.”

He added, “I just think that’s a really cool thing to see for the franchise, to sort of see how the baton has been passed through the generations, and how the success has been passed down. And I just think it’s a great way to kind of capture that.”

The items which will tell the team’s story were collected from a combination of the team, players, and top-of-the-market collectors around the world. One of those collectors has a collection that is so exclusive and valuable that they have an armed guard defending the storage site 24 hours a day. That small detail is a perfect indication of just how exclusive this Hall-of-Fame display really is.

That premise also correlates perfectly to the name of the new exhibit. The Hall of Fame is calling it “The Vault” to showcase the exclusivity behind the items within the gallery.

The first edition of The Vault, highlighting the Celtics, will open May 31st at the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is located 70 miles west of Boston in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.