The Boston Celtics have been in the news a lot lately and for good reason. They are the most storied franchise in the NBA, and one of the most notable organizations in all of sports. It looks like the luck of the Irish may be back in Boston too, as they traded for 4-time All-Star and 2016 NBA Champion Kyrie Irving. It was unclear whether the trade would be finalized due to concerns about Isaiah Thomas’s hip injury, but it finally went through this week. So, in honor of Boston’s new addition, here are the top ten Celtics of all time.
No. 10: Jo Jo White
Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP, 7x NBA All-Star, 2x All-NBA 2nd Team, No. 10 Jersey Retired
Jo Jo White was an all-around perimeter threat. He could score, pass, and defend with the best of them. Playing with two other guys ranked above him on this list, it would be easy to say he lived in their shadows, but White always found a way to stand out. In fact, he finished with 33 points and nine assists in a triple overtime win against the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals.
No. 9: Sam Jones
Accomplishments: 10x NBA Champion, 5x NBA All-Star, 3x All-NBA 2nd Team, No. 24 Jersey Retired
One of the best playoff performers of all-time, Sam Jones was the perfect complement to Bill Russell during their historic run of championships. He was arguably the most important player on Red Auerbach’s title teams because his shooting allowed the lane to open up for the greatest center to ever play basketball.
No. 8: Robert Parish
Accomplishments: 4x NBA Champion, 9x NBA All-Star, 1x All-NBA 2nd Team, No. 00 Jersey Retired
The man in the middle for the 1980’s Boston Celtics was more than just a complementary player. In fact, he finished in the top-15 in the MVP race in five of his 14 seasons with the team. Parrish contributed to three NBA titles during that time and even tacked on another one as a member of the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls at the age of 43.
No. 7: Dave Cowens
Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, 1x NBA MVP, 7x NBA All-Star, 3x All-NBA 2nd Team, 1971 NBA ROY, No. 18 Jersey Retired
It’s easy to understand why Dave Cowens makes the list, considering he is one of four Celtics to ever win NBA MVP, and he did it during the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era, when it seemed like he would win the award every season. He was more than just a scoring machine, making three All-Defensive teams.
No. 6: Paul Pierce
Accomplishments: 1x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP, 10x NBA All-Star, 1x All-NBA 2nd Team
Paul Pierce had to endure a lot of bad seasons in Boston, but he was more than just the best player on a bad team. He made ten All-Star teams, helped construct and lead the 2008 “super team” to a title, and finished second all-time in scoring for the best franchise in basketball. He more-than-deserved to make this list.
No. 5: Kevin McHale
Accomplishments: 3x NBA Champion, 7x NBA All-Star, 1x All-NBA 1st Team, 2x 6th Man of Year, No. 32 Jersey Retired
Kevin McHale is the consummate pro. He’s one of few players to make an All-NBA 1st Team and win Sixth Man of the Year. He had no problem doing whatever the team needed him to do and doing it well for that matter.
No. 4: Bob Cousy
Accomplishments: 6x NBA Champion, 1x NBA MVP, 13x NBA All-Star, 10x All-NBA 1st Team, No. 14 Jersey Retired
Bob Cousy was the best point guard in the NBA throughout his entire career, and that is reflected by his ten All-NBA 1st Team selections. The original Stockton-Malone, Cousy and Russell dominated the league for a decade. Six rings, an MVP, and almost 50 years later, Cousy still remains the best point guard in Celtics history.
No. 3: John Havlicek
Accomplishments: 8x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP, 13x NBA All-Star, 4x All-NBA 1st Team, Celtics’ All-Time Leading Scorer, No. 17 Jersey Retired
The stats speak for themselves. John Havlicek is an 11-time All-NBA and 8-time All-Defensive performer, not to mention, he is the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer. Enough said.
No. 2: Larry Bird
Accomplishments: 3x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 3x NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 9x All-NBA 1st Team, 1980 NBA ROY, No. 33 Jersey Retired
Larry Bird would be the best all-time player for about 25 NBA franchises, but it’s hard to put him above a guy who has more championship rings than fingers. Nevertheless, Bird is among the greatest NBA players ever, so it was an easy choice to put him high on this list.
No. 1: Bill Russell
Accomplishments: 11x NBA Champion, 5x NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 5x Rebounding Champion, No. 6 Jersey Retired
Come on. 11 championships and five MVPs. If it weren’t for Wilt Chamberlain putting up the numbers he did and stealing a few MVP awards, Russell would be considered the greatest NBA player of all-time. Mic drop.