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Celtics to debut new alternate logo

One version of the new Celtics logo the team will begin using this season.

One version of the new Celtics logo the team will begin using this season.

A couple of years ago, the Celtics turned their office on Causeway Street, near TD Garden, into a pseudo museum detailing the franchise’s history, with pictures and memorabilia covering nearly every square inch of space.

And down one hallway, all the Celtics logos dating to the team’s founding in 1946 were splashed on the wall, each carrying the story behind its origin.

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Those stories sparked an idea for something new with a touch of the past, and after 18 months of work, that idea will debut this week: a new alternate logo.

Created in-house, the logo, which is known as the “Lucky Alternate,” pays homage to the early 1960s illustration created by Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach’s brother, Zang, a former editorial and sports artist for newspapers in Washington.

It features the classic image of Lucky the leprechaun spinning the ball on his finger, only in white silhouette against a green backdrop, encircled by the words “BOSTON” and “CELTICS” in white.

“It’s such an iconic silhouette that people, when they see it, they’ll know exactly what it is,” said Shawn Sullivan, the team’s chief marketing officer.

The logo will first be used on adidas team apparel and merchandise on sale through the team’s online store beginning this month.

Celtics season ticket-holders and corporate partners can also buy apparel featuring the new alternate logo two days before products are released to the general public.

Keith Sliney, the Celtics’ creative director and the logo’s designer, stressed that it won’t be replacing their main logo, nor are there immediate plans to place it on game jerseys.

“We think of it more as extending the Celtics brand,” Sliney said. “Our existing logos are not changing. This alternate is an additional emblem for us to use on everything from print to web to fabric. It’s very flexible.”

One of the reasons the Celtics decided to create a new logo was, Sliney said, it had been 16 years since the team had debuted its last new logo, a secondary shamrock.

“We thought it was a good time to create a mark, something new, something fresh, yet with a lot of history behind it,” he said.

They settled on re-creating the 1960s logo — Zang’s creation, featuring the leprechaun wearing a bowler, smoking a pipe, holding a shillelagh — only with a contemporary spin on a classic image.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at baxter.holmes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.
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