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The Origin of the “Role Player” in the NBA

Published by on May 14, 2009
Article Source: Bleacher Report - NBA

A role player—defined as an athlete who plays mainly in specific situations—has always been a valued member of successful NBA teams.

The great Red Auerbach essentially created the position.

During a thirteen year stretch—spanning from '56-'69—that saw the Boston Celtics win eleven NBA Championships, most under Auerbach, the Celtics had at least one bench player score 10 points in 12 of the 13 seasons.

In the early days of the Association though, many of these players came far and few between—but each great team had them.

The Celtics had Sam and K.C. Jones, as well as Frank Ramsey. The Cincinnati Royals had Bob Boozer and Adrian Smtih. The San Fran...

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