The Last Original Basketball Player
As the clock wound down on game 7 of the 1962 NBA finals, and the Boston Celtics won their fourth NBA title in a row and 5th in the last six years, one man's life was also winding down. Raymond Pimlott Kaighn is a name forgotten by basketball history, but one has to wonder what the man the 93 year old thought of the Celtics and the NBA. For it was he, and 15 other men who one fateful day in December 1891, played the very same game that saw the Celtics win a title for, but for the very first time.
Raymond Pimlott Kaighn was born on December 8, 1969 and died August 16, 1962. He was the last living person who had played at the YMCA when James Naismith nailed two peach baskets above the gymnasium and invented the game of basketball.
Kaighn was an avid Christian and it was his faith that brought him to Springfield, Massachusetts in the fall of 1891.
By all accounts Kaighn was a good athlete, but a little bit injury prone. After playing in the innagrual basketball game, that spring he tried out for the first basketball but got injured, earning him the dubious distinction as the first player to get injured playing basketball.
After leaving Springfield, Kaighn moved to Minnesota and brought basketball to the gopher state with him. He started the first college basketball team in the midwest while at Hamline University.
He returned to Massachusetts and continued to work for the YMCA. He stopped playing basketball in any competitive manner around 1900, but was known to talk to new students of the game about his experiences with James Naismith.
Kaighn continued to work at the YMCA until 1940 when he retired, but he kept donating to the cause. He is known to have attended a few Boston Celtics games, making him one of the few original basketball players to ever attend an NBA game.
After retiring he moved to North Carolina. As a member of the original basketball team he was inducted into the basketball hall-of-fame in 1959. When the hall open in 1961 he was one of the commemorators.
Raymond Kaighn in 1893