Maybe he was a two-sport star, although not as famous as Sanders or Jackson who played both NFL and MLB.
As a utility infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, picked in the 15th round of the 1977 free agent draft, Ainge hit .220 and had two home runs.
Drafted by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1981 NBA draft, his basketball career was much more notable than his professional baseball one.
When Ainge first joined the Celtics it was when they had a crowded backcourt. Ainge only started one game in his rookie year as the Celtics also had guards Tiny Archibald, Gerald Henderson, M.L. Carr and Chris Ford. Ford, who was at the end of his career then, had a few things in common with Ainge.
They were both a similar size and were outside shooters, and would both coach in the NBA in the future. M.L. Carr was another future coach.
Ainge won his first championship in 1984 and the year after he started 73 games after Boston traded out guard Gerald Henderson. Ainge’s numbers jumped from 5.4 points and 2.3 assists in 1984 to 12.9 points and 5.3 assists. Ainge also had 1.6 steals per game and shot the ball very well. He was at 52.9% from the field and 86.8% on free throws.
The next year, Ainge started 78 games as part of one of the most famous and successful basketball teams of all time. The 1985-86 Boston Celtics rarely lost games that year as they dominated the NBA with a team of Ainge, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Scott Wedman, Bill Walton and Jerry Sichting.
When playing road games, some fans were appreciative of seeing some of the top stars for the Celtics playing but often disliked Ainge.
The Boston Celtics were getting old so they sent Ainge and Brad Lohaus to the Sacramento Kings for center Joe Kleine and forward Ed Pinckney. Those two were brought in to give Bird, Parish and McHale some rest. A struggling team like Sacramento wasn’t the ideal place for Ainge and a trade was arranged to send him to another contender.
Ainge was sent out by the Sacramento Kings to the Portland Trail Blazers for Byron Irvin, a 1991 first round draft pick and a 1992 second round draft pick. It was a move that would get Ainge back to the NBA Finals. It also sent Ainge to the region where he was from, having been born in Eugene, Oregon and also going to high school there.
Ainge gave Portland what they needed, outside shooting and a guard off the bench. With Terry Porter at point guard and Cylde Drexler starting at shooting guard, a combo-guard like Ainge was perfect because he could come off the bench and play either spot.
Portland had a big team, with Robinson, Kersey, Williams and Duckworth inside, and Ainge’s outside shooting was needed to keep defenses from collapsing into the paint.
In the offseason of 1992, the Phoenix Suns were trading players and building for a run at the title. With Charles Barkley added they needed more depth at guard. The Phoenix Suns signed Ainge as a free agent. Once again, Ainge was in the finals and was the guard off the bench.
He could come into the team at point guard when Kevin Johnson went out or could play shooting guard when Majerle needed a rest. During season 1992-93, both Ainge and Majerle were hitting a couple of three-pointers per game.
After his playing career was over, Ainge coached the Suns. They were solid teams but didn’t get to the NBA Finals.
Danny Ainge was also in control of the Boston Celtics as he built the team that won their recent championship. He is the President of Basketball Operations.
Trading for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett wasn’t difficult, but it was Ainge who had drafted many of the players who were sent out in the deals to make it happen. Ainge then signed the correct veterans to help the Celtics during the playoffs.