Nat Holman played 17 years of professional basketball with fourteen different teams from 1917-1934. He began his professional career in 1917 when he was still attending the Savage School for Physical Education. Holman made his debut in Sag Harbor, N.Y., with the N.Y. Knickerbockers Big Five for $10 for an afternoon and evening doubleheader. Young and confident Holman had a swagger. He stood up under pressure. When his team needed a score he usually took the shot. One of basketball's most accurate shooters and best ball handlers, Holman once scored 23 of the team's 28 points. A superstar, Holman was earning $6 to$10 a game barnstorming on the East coast. On January 19, 1921, he played four games in one day with three different teams: with Detroit, Union City and the Rochester Centrals, winning three and losing one game.
In 1921 after years of barnstorming, Holman signed an exclusive contract to play with the "Original Celtics." Founded as a settlement house team in 1914 as the New York Celtics, the team disbanded during World War I and reorganized in 1921 as the Original Celtics. The Celtics were the most dominant team of the 1920s. They had the best players-Nat Holman, Joe Lapchick, Johnny Beckman, Pete Barry, and Dutch Dehnert-and they were all signed to exclusive contracts. Holman, the highest paid player at $12,500 per season, was the attraction. A household name, Holman assumed a reputation in basketball that was comparable to Jack Dempsey's in boxing, Babe Ruth's in baseball, Bobby Jones' in golf, and Bill Tilden's in tennis. As a player he was noted for his speed, his aggressive play and excellent ball handling. Holman was a member of the Original Celtics from 1921 until their dispersion in 1928. In seven years the Celtics won over 1000 games and lost less then 100. Selling out arenas, armories, and dance halls wherever they played, the Celtics as a barnstorming team averaged 188 games per season. In Cleveland they set an attendance record of 23,000 in the 1920s. In 1921-1922 the Celtics went on an unbelievable winning streak of 93 straight games. After the team disbanded in 1928 for lack of competition, Holman played for five more years with the Chicago Bruins and the Syracuse All-Americans.
Holman retired from actively playing basketball in 1933 at the age of 34 to coach full-time and continue as the physical education director at the 92nd Street YMHA (a job he held from 1930-1939). At the time of his retirement, he was the highest paid professional in the country, averaging $2000 a month for five or six games a week. With some of the money he earned while playing pro basketball he invested in a 250-acre summer camp with his oldest brother Jacob (Camp Scatico in Elizaville, NY; family owned since 1921).