St. Louis's basketball past got a little dimmer Tuesday when "Easy" Ed Macauley—Billikens star, Boston Celtics icon, and unfortunate trade ballast—died at his home in town at the age of 83. Macauley led Saint Louis University to its only NIT championship in 1948 and later starred with the Celtics before famously going to the St. Louis Hawks in trade for rookie Bill Russell.â†µ
Macauley, drafted by the ill-fated St. Louis Bombers in 1949, left for the Celtics in the dispersal draft the next year. While he'll be forever best known for going to the Hawks for Russell, Macauley was a Hall of Famer in his own right, a high-scoring center who routinely finished near the league lead in field goal percentage—in the inefficient early years when a .450 mark was impressive—and knew how to get to the free throw line. Easy Ed was named to the first seven NBA All-Star Games after the BAA/NBL merger, and was the MVP of the first one, when he scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds.
Macauley might be famous as a Celtics footnote, but in 1958 he earned some measure of revenge on history, leading the team to an NBA championship over the Celtics. After a Finals run in 1960 as head coach Macauley retired for good, later becoming a deacon in the Catholic Church.