One of the NBA’s original franchises, the Boston Celtics have the richest history of any team to play the game of basketball. The Celtics have 22 retired numbers, 25 players in the Hall of Fame, and 17 championships, more than any other franchise.
Arguably the best player in Boston Celtics franchise history, Larry Bird became the face of the franchise in the 1980s. Bird is in the top 50 in NBA history in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and free throw percentage. He had career averages of 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Bird won the NBA MVP Award three times and the Finals MVP twice. He made a dozen All-Star teams, ten All-NBA teams, and three All-Defensive teams. Bird was one of the best shooters and overall players in NBA history and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
With more championships than fingers, Bill Russell is the most successful player in the history of basketball. Russell played his entire 13-year career with the Celtics, winning 11 championships in that time. Russell averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. His 21,620 career rebounds are 10,000 more than the second highest total in Celtics’ franchise history. Though he played in the days before blocks were counted as a statistic, they are tallied today largely because of Russell. Russell is a five-time NBA MVP, a 12-time All-Star, a member of the Hall of Fame, and the second leading rebounder in league history. The NBA Finals MVP award is now named after Bill Russell.
One of the best players in Boston Celtics history and in NBA history is John Havlicek. In the Celtics’ long and storied history, Havlicek is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 26,395 points and he did so in the pre-three point shot era. In 16 years with the Celtics, he averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Havlicek was a member of eight NBA champion Celtics teams, 11 All-NBA teams, eight All-Defensive teams, and 13 All-Star teams. In 1984, John Havlicek joined the basketball Hall of Fame.
One of the best players in Boston Celtics franchise history is point guard Bob Cousy who played all but seven of his 924 games in a Celtics’ uniform. Having led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive seasons, Cousy is the Celtics’ all-time leader in assists with 6,945 and assists per game with 7.6. Cousy made the All-Star team in all 13 of his seasons with the Celtics, winning the game’s MVP award twice and the league MVP once. With career averages of 18.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists, he made 12 straight All-NBA teams from 1952 to 1963 including ten years on the First Team. Bob Cousy was named to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
A member of the Boston Celtics since 1956, Tommy Heinsohn is one of the best players in Boston Celtics franchise history. Heinsohn has spent nine seasons as a player, nine seasons as a coach, and 32 years as a broadcaster for the Celtics. Heinsohn has won the 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, been named to six All-Star teams, and won the 1973 NBA Coach of the Year Award. In his career as a player from 1956 to 1965, Heinsohn averaged 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, making four All-NBA teams. In 1986, Heinsohn was entered into the Hall of Fame as a player.
Other top players in Boston Celtics franchise history include Paul Pierce, Dave Cowens, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Jo Jo White, Bill Sharman, Dennis Johnson, Tom Sanders, Don Nelson, Reggie Lewis, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Nate Archibald, and Ed Macauley. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Bill Walton, Dominique Wilkins, Bob McAdoo, and Dave Bing have also spent between three or fewer seasons with the team.