March 31, 1964

As the Celtics prepared to take on the Cincinnati Royals in the NBA Eastern Division finals, the Royals were hoping rookie forward Jerry Lucas would shake off a back problem that threatened to neutralize him against the defending champs.

Lucas suffered the lower back injury in the second game of the Royals 3-2 first-round series win over the 76ers. His status as the NBA’s leading rookie was confirmed by a vote of writers and sportscasters, as announced by NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy, as was his spot as a second-team all star.

Royals guard Oscar Robertson was a first-team selection, along with Los Angeles’ Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, the St. Louis Hawks’ Bob Petit, and San Francisco Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain.

As Rookie of the Year and a second-team all star, Lucas received a $200 bonus, $100 for each honor. First-team all stars earned $200 bonuses, second-teamers $100.

Three Celtics were second-team selections: Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn and John Havlicek.

The Celtics finished off the Royals in five games, then did the same to the Warriors for their seventh championship in eight years.