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Celtics honor long-time announcer Most

By FREDERICK WATERMAN UPI Sports Writer

BOSTON -- Retired announcer Johnny Most, whose 37 years of radio broadcasts helped create the Boston Celtics' mystique, was honored in halftime ceremonies Monday night and his microphone was placed on permanent display 'high above courtside' at Boston Garden.

Former Celtic player and coach Tommy Heinsohn, one of 16 Celtics to have their number retired, told Most, 'You didn't have a number, but you had the microphone.'

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The silver-plated microphone, inside a Celtic-green frame, is affixed to the facade of the radio booth, the vantage point Most always described as 'high above courtside' and where he made many of his most famous calls, including 'Havlicek stole the ball!'

Most, 67 and now frail due to heart problems and a stroke seven years ago, was also given a piece of the Garden's famed parquet floor. Larry Bird made the presentation.

Most was given a lapel pin shaped like a microphone and encrusted with 37 diamonds, plus a championship ring that had the dates of all 16 Celtics championships on it. Also, a scholarship was established at Emerson College's Department of Communications.

Heinsohn, referring to Most's distinctive gravelly voice, said, 'I wonder if they are going to make the students drink Drano?'

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The 30-minute ceremony, during the Celtics-Seattle Supersonics game, began with a five-minute tape of highlights from Most's broadcasts of Celtics games.

'When we hired him 37 years ago, nobody ever figured that gravel tone would last,' said Celtics President Red Auerbach.

'I came to the Celtics in 1953 and I thought I might stay a couple of years,' Most told the sellout crowd of 14,890, which stood throughout ceremony, often giving deafening roars. 'In parting, I will never forget you and I hope you will never forget me.'

Former Boston player and coach K.C. Jones, now Seattle's head coach, said before the game that Most 'bleeds green ... Johnny Most is the best because he made it come alive on radio.'

Most, who grew up in Brooklyn, told an interviewer the evening made him recall sports' most famous farewell.

'I remember when I was a young kid, my hero was Lou Gehrig. I went to the game when he quit. I remember what he said, 'Today I am the luckiest man alive' -- because he was out there with all his friends. What more can you ask?'

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