Bailey Howell still shudders at the memory of his first season with the Boston Celtics.
Bob Cousy was retired. Bill Russell was no longer the future of basketball. And the Celtics' march of eight straight NBA championships ended in 1967 when Philadelphia finally broke through.
"My first year there we lost, so here comes the kiss of death!" said Howell, a star at Mississippi State. "Before I even got to the Celtics, the team was getting old together."
Winning, though, had not gotten old to them. With Howell, player-coach Russell, John Havlicek and Sam Jones, they went on to claim the last two of 10 titles within 11 seasons -- something no other team has approached. And they have been reaping honors since, their latest with the entry of Howell into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Others inducted Monday night were three coaches -- Pete Carril of Princeton, Don Haskins of Texas-El Paso and Antonio Diaz-Miguel of Spain -- as well as 1980s NBA scoring leader Alex English and women's stars Denise Curry and Joan Crawford.
Howell, a 6-foot-7, 220-pounder and the forerunner of today's power forward, is the 18th Celtics player and 23rd team entry, including coach Red Auerbach, in the Hall of Fame. No other team approaches those numbers.