Top 5 Boston Celtics Players of All Time
With an impressive 17 titles to their name, the Boston Celtics are the most successful and the most decorated franchise in NBA history. During their 76-year history, countless players have dazzled and delighted fans at the TD Stadium, with the team accruing more wins than any other in the NBA and making them the go-to choice for anyone betting on NBA basketball. But which players stand out as the cream of the crop?
Of course, comparing players in different positions and across time periods is no easy task and the following list does not profess to be a comprehensive or unquestionable leader board of the franchise's most famous players. It is, however, our humble opinion of the five most talented ballers to have ever graced the green and white of the Celtics since their inception.
5) Paul Pierce
The first man on our list is also the most recent Celtics player. Known as "The Truth", Pierce was the founding member of the Celtics' second "Big Three" (alongside Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett) and spent a total of 15 seasons in Boston. Although his solitary title win with the Celtics does not do testament to the skill and showmanship he brought to the court, he did make the NBA All-Star team an incredible 10 times.
4) Kevin McHale
From one "Big Three" to another, McHale formed the original trio alongside Larry Bird and Robert Parish and was a key part of the team which achieved utter domination of the NBA in the 1980s. A formidable power forward, McHale averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game across his 13-year Celtics career, referring to those marking him as being "in the torture chamber". You'd be hard pushed to find anyone who would disagree.
3) John Havlicek
Havlicek is perhaps best remembered for the immortal commentary of “Havlicek stole the ball!” in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals. Nonetheless, the man is far more than just a soundbite or footnote from Celtics history; across a career spanning 16 seasons, he only ever missed more than seven games in one year. His lengthy stint in Boston also saw a healthy trophy haul, scooping up eight NBA titles.
2) Larry Bird
Another member of the aforementioned original "Big Three" Larry Bird simply embodied everything good about the Boston Celtics in the 1980s. His rivalry with Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers produced some of the most compelling games of the era and across 13 seasons at the TD Stadium, Bird averaged 24.3 points and 6.3 assists, as well as 10 rebounds each game. He claimed three NBA titles, 12 spots on the All-Star team and three NBA MVP gongs.
1) Bill Russell
However much Bird might be synonymous with the Celtics' success in the 80s, his achievements did not overshadow those of Bill Russell - and it's unlikely any player for any team ever will. Russell won the NBA title on an incredible 11 out of 13 attempts with the Celtics and at 6'9", he was one of the tallest athletes to grace the court during his era. Such was his monumental impact on the game that the Finals MVP award is now named after him.
These are the best five ballers who played for the Boston Celtics in our opinion… what's yours? Who have we missed?