Rudolph 'Spider' Edwards, fixture at Boston Garden, dies

BOSTON (AP) Rudolph ''Spider'' Edwards, who with his dust mop and jaunty fedora shared the parquet floor with Celtics stars from Bill Russell to Larry Bird in the old Boston Garden and new, has died. He was 86.

Edwards had suffered from cancer, the Celtics said Wednesday.

Edwards began working for the Celtics in 1964, sweeping the floor during timeouts so the stars of the NBA's first dynasty wouldn't slip on the moisture seeping up from the hockey ice underneath.

When the Boston Garden was replaced in 1995, Edwards was recognized in the closing ceremonies, and in an auction of the historic building's artifacts, his broom went for $1,600. Edwards autographed it for the new owner, then spent five hours signing for a line of fans.

Edwards moved with the team to its new arena before retiring in 1997. When the Celtics replaced their floor in October, they brought Edwards back to give the new parquet its first sweep.