1926 John Honey Russell & Nat Hickey Cleveland Rosenblums Original TYPE 1 Photo PSA/DNA LOA

John Honey Russell(D. 1973) was an American basketball player and coach born in Brooklyn, New York. He turned professional after his sophomore year of high school, playing for numerous early 20th century pro teams, including many in the American Basketball League. His career included over 3,200 pro games (a number that would take a modern NBA player 30-40 years to equal). In addition, he coached and managed for over 30 years in all of the professional leagues in existence during his career. He was the first coach of the NBA's Boston Celtics (1946-1948). He also coached at Seton Hall University. In 1964, Russell was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nicholas J. "Nat" Hickey (born Nicola Zarnecich; January 30, 1902 – September 16, 1979) was a Croatian-American professional basketball coach/player and baseball player. He turned to coaching basketball after his retirement from playing full-time in 1942 but occasionally activated himself as a player for the teams he was coaching. In 1948, at the age of 45, Hickey played two games with the Providence Steamrollers of the Basketball Association of America (BAA) while serving as the team's head coach, making him the oldest player in NBA history.

As a 5'11" guard/forward, Hickey played from the 1920s through 1940s with multiple early professional teams, including the Hoboken St. Joseph's, Eddie Holly's Majors, New York Crescents, Cleveland Rosenblums, the Chicago Bruins, Boston Trojans, Original Celtics of the American Basketball League and the Pittsburgh Raiders, Indianapolis Kautskys, and Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the National Basketball League.

In the second year after the formation of the Basketball Association of America (the forerunner to the NBA), Hickey served 29 games as head coach of the Providence Steamrollers during the 1947–48 season. Hickey's team posted a 4–25 record during his tenure. He activated himself as a player on January 27, 1948, three days before his 46th birthday, and appeared in two games. He attempted six field goals – making none – and committed five personal fouls. He scored two points off of foul shots. All of the shots occurred in his debut game as a player against the St. Louis Bombers. While he also played a day later against the New York Knickerbockers, he didn't record anything in that game. As a result of these games, Hickey still holds the record for the oldest player in NBA history at 45 years and 363 days.

Hickey became the coach of the Johnstown Clippers of the All-American Basketball League during the 1950–51 season. On January 11, 1951, Hickey was driving the team back to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after a game in Wheeling, West Virginia, when he lost control of his car on the Lincoln Highway and crashed. Clippers player George Karmarkovich, a 24-year-old who was considered the team's biggest star, was ejected from the car and killed. The Clippers were disbanded the following day and Hickey did not return to coaching. Hickey was found to not be responsible for Karmarkovich's death

The Cleveland Rosenblums (also known as the Rosies) were an American basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio that was one of the original members of the American Basketball League. The Rosenblums played in the league between 1925–1930, winning three championships before dropping out.

In the inaugural 1925–1926 season of the American Professional Basketball League, the Rosenblums compiled a record of 23–7. Their leading scorers were John "Honey" Russell (216 points), Nat Hickey (198 points), and Carl Husta (158 points).  On April 9, 1926, the Rosenblums won the ABL's first championship by defeating the Brooklyn Arcadians by a score of 23–22 in the final game of the league's first championship series played at Brooklyn's 71st Infantry Regiment Armory. The championship was decided in a best-of-five series, and the Rosenblums won in three consecutive games. The Rosenblums won the first and second games at Cleveland's Public Hall by scores of 36–33 and 37–21.

Offered is this original TYPE 1 photo of Hickey & Russell in full basketball uniform stamped on back from 1926.

Early photos of professional basketball players, let alone from one of the biggest stars in the game (and a future Hall of Famer) are rarely encountered.

Full LOA from PSA/DNA Type 1



Item: 12368

Price: $849.00
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1926 John Honey Russell & Nat Hickey Cleveland Rosenblums Original TYPE 1 Photo PSA/DNA LOA