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Easy Ed Macauley was MVP of inaugural NBA All-Star Game

Easy Ed Macauley of the Boston Celtics in 1953. Credit: Public Domain

Easy Ed Macauley was the only 20-point scorer in the inaugural NBA All-Star Game, which was held on March 2, 1951 at the Boston Gordon.

He received the All-Star Game MVP award — but not until 1953.

That was when NBA officials decided to retroactively present awards to Macauley, who helped guide the East to a 111-94 triumph over the West, and Paul Arizin, the 1952 MVP. From that point on, All-Star Game MVPs were announced on the day of the game.

”I got the award two years later and I still never got a trophy,” Macauley told The New York Times in a 1998 phone interview. ”Now they get an award, cash, a car. I didn’t even get a paper clip. I never got a trophy. Still, it was a wonderful feeling.”

Easy Ed Macauley excelled on defense

In the first-ever NBA All-Star Game, Macauley drew a tough defensive assignment: George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers. He handled it remarkably well, holding Mikan to 4 of 17 from the floor in a quiet 12-point outing.

”I had to play against Mikan, and I know a lot of guys play as individuals in the All-Star Game, but I said: ‘I’m going to play in front of him. Give me help.’ ” told The New York Times. “We had a team that couldn’t match the West’s strength. But we had the greatest backcourt with Bob Cousy, Andy Phillip and Dick McGuire. We had the three greatest passers in the game; it was the greatest thing that could happen to me.”

From Celtics to Hawks

Boston’s Easy Ed Macauley in December 1952. Credit: NBA Photo Library / via Getty Images

Macauley, who starred at St. Louis University and led the Bilikens to the 1949 NIT title before launching his pro career, was involved in one of the most famous trades in NBA history.

“Macauley played for the Celtics from the 1950-51 season until 1955-56,” The Associated Press reported in 2011 in Easy Ed Macauley’s obituary. “He and the draft rights to future Hall of Famer Cliff Hagan were traded by Boston to the St. Louis Hawks on April 29, 1956, for the rights to Russell, a move that changed the power structure of the NBA.

“The Celtics went on to win 11 titles with Russell dominating in the paint.”

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