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Celtics Legends: Top 10 Greatest Players in NBA History

The Boston Celtics are a legendary basketball team that has produced some of the greatest players in NBA history. With a total of 17 NBA championships, the Celtics are one of the most successful franchises in the league.

In this article, we will be discussing the top 10 greatest Boston Celtics basketball players of all time. We will delve into each player’s career highlights, individual achievements, and their impact on the Celtics’ history.

1. Bill Russell the Greatest of All Time

Bill Russell is widely considered as the greatest Celtic of all time and an all-time NBA great.

He played for the Celtics from 1956-1969 and won a remarkable 11 NBA championships, making him the player with the most titles in any major North American professional sports league. Besides, Russell was an integral part of the 1956 U.S Olympic team that won a gold medal in Melbourne, Australia.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Winning Legacy

Russell’s legacy at the Celtics is that of a winner. He was a dominant force on the court, and his impact helped shape the Celtics into a championship-winning team.

Besides, he was a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and 12-time All-Star selection. Russell’s winning mentality was infectious, and he inspired his teammates to strive for greatness.

He set the bar high and led by example, earning the respect of his peers and fans alike.

Individual Achievements

Russell’s individual achievements are staggering. He led the league in rebounds five times, blocked shots four times, and was an eight-time All-Defensive team selection.

Furthermore, he holds the Celtics’ all-time record for rebounds with 21,620, an average of 22.5 rebounds per game. Russell’s dominance on the court was unmatched, and his legacy at the Celtics remains legendary.

2. Larry Bird the Hick from French Lick

Larry Bird is another legendary Celtic who played for the team from 1979-1992.

He was a 12-time All-Star selection, three-time NBA champion, and an NBA MVP three times. Bird was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, cementing his legacy among the all-time greats.

Winning Legacy

Bird was a fierce competitor who was known for his clutch play and leadership on the court. He led the Celtics to three NBA championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986.

He was also an integral part of the 1992 U.S Olympic team that won a gold medal in Barcelona, Spain. Bird’s winning mentality helped the Celtics establish a culture of excellence that continues to this day.

Individual Achievements

Bird’s individual achievements are impressive. He was a 10-time All-NBA selection and won the NBA three-point shooting contest three times.

He also holds the Celtics’ record for free throw percentage with 88.6%. Bird’s impact on the game went beyond his individual achievements as he revolutionized the small forward position with his shooting and passing abilities.

3. John Havlicek the Hondo

John Havlicek is one of the most iconic Celtics players of all time.

He played for the Celtics from 1962-1978 and won eight NBA championships during his tenure. Besides, Havlicek was a 13-time All-Star selection, five-time All-NBA selection, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Winning Legacy

Havlicek’s winning legacy at the Celtics is one of the greatest in NBA history. He helped the team win eight NBA championships, including five in a row from 1961-1966.

Havlicek was known for his tireless work ethic and clutch performances, earning him the nickname “Hondo.” He was a true team player who always put the team’s success above his individual statistics.

Individual Achievements

Havlicek’s individual achievements are impressive. He scored 26,395 points in his career, making him the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer.

He was also a tenacious defender who led the team in steals eight times. Havlicek’s versatility made him a highly sought-after player, as he could play both guard and forward positions with ease.

4. Paul Pierce The Truth

Paul Pierce is another Celtics great who played for the team from 1998-2013.

He led the team to an NBA championship in 2008 and was named the NBA Finals MVP. Pierce was a ten-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Winning Legacy

Pierce’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by the team’s 2008 championship run. He was the Finals MVP, averaging 22 points per game in the series.

Pierce was an all-around player who made valuable contributions on both ends of the court. He was an inspirational leader who led by example, earning the respect of his teammates and fans alike.

Individual Achievements

Pierce’s individual achievements are impressive. He scored 26,397 points in his career, making him the second-highest scorer in Celtics history behind John Havlicek.

He was also a valuable defender who made the All-Defensive team three times. Pierce’s impact on the Celtics’ history is indisputable, and his legacy will live on for years to come.

5. Kevin McHale the Black Hole

Kevin McHale played for the Celtics from 1980-1993, winning three NBA championships during his tenure.

He was a seven-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Winning Legacy

McHale’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by his three NBA championships. He was a valuable player off the bench and made significant contributions to the team’s success.

His work ethic and dedication to the game inspired his teammates, and he played an integral role in the team’s championship runs.

Individual Achievements

McHale’s individual achievements are impressive. He scored 17,335 points in his career, making him the Celtics’ seventh-highest scorer of all time.

He was also a skilled defender who made the All-Defensive team six times. McHale’s versatility helped the Celtics become a dominant team during the 1980s, and his legacy with the team remains strong.

6. Bob Cousy Mr. Basketball

Bob Cousy played for the Celtics from 1950-1963, winning six NBA championships during his tenure.

He was a 13-time All-Star selection, and his number 14 jersey was retired by the Celtics in his honor. Cousy was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

Winning Legacy

Cousy’s winning legacy at the Celtics is notable, as he helped the team win six NBA championships. He was a masterful ball-handler and playmaker who set up his teammates for scoring opportunities.

Cousy’s unselfishness and team-first mentality made him a fan favorite and a valuable member of the Celtics’ history.

Individual Achievements

Cousy’s individual achievements are impressive. He led the league in assists eight times and won the NBA MVP award in 1957.

Cousy was also a skilled defender who made the All-Defensive team seven times. His impact on the game was significant, as he helped popularize the fast-break offense and modern point guard position.

7. Sam Jones the Shooter

Sam Jones played for the Celtics from 1957-1969, winning ten NBA championships during his tenure.

He was a five-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Winning Legacy

Jones’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by his ten NBA championships, making him one of the most decorated players in NBA history. He was a skilled shooter and an essential part of the team’s offense.

His clutch performances in critical moments helped the team win many close games.

Individual Achievements

Jones’s individual achievements are impressive. He scored 15,411 points in his career, making him the Celtics’ third-highest scorer of all time.

Jones was also a tenacious defender who made the All-Defensive team six times. His impact on the Celtics’ history is undeniable, and his legacy remains strong.

8. Robert Parish the Chief

Robert Parish played for the Celtics from 1980-1994, winning four NBA championships during his tenure.

He was a nine-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Winning Legacy

Parish’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by his four NBA championships. He was a skilled rebounder who helped the team control the boards.

Parish was also a valuable player off the bench, and his experience and leadership helped the team win crucial games.

Individual Achievements

Parish’s individual achievements are impressive. He holds the Celtics’ record for most games played with 1,106, and he is the team’s all-time leading rebounder with 14,715 rebounds.

Besides, Parish was an integral part of the “Big Three” during the 1980s, alongside Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. His impact on the team’s history is significant, and he will always be remembered as a Celtics legend.

9. Dave Cowens the Stick

Dave Cowens played for the Celtics from 1970-1980, winning two NBA championships during his tenure.

He was a seven-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Winning Legacy

Cowens’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by his two NBA championships. He was a tenacious defender who always gave 100% on the court.

Cowens’s work ethic and dedication to the game helped the team win many close games and crucial playoff series.

Individual Achievements

Cowens’s individual achievements are impressive. He was the NBA MVP in 1973 and made the All-NBA team four times.

Cowens was a skilled rebounder and holds the Celtics’ record for most blocks in a season with 151. His impact on the Celtics’ history is significant, and he remains one of the team’s most beloved players to this day.

10. Kevin Garnett KG

Kevin Garnett played for the Celtics from 2007-2013, winning one NBA championship during his tenure.

He was a 15-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

Winning Legacy

Garnett’s winning legacy at the Celtics is highlighted by the team’s 2008 NBA championship. He was known for his intense work ethic and leadership on and off the court.

Garnett’s influence on the team went beyond his individual statistics, as he inspired his teammates to work harder and strive for greatness.

Individual Achievements

Garnett’s individual achievements are impressive. He scored 25,340 points in his career, making him the tenth-highest scorer in NBA history.

Garnett was also a skilled defender who made the All-Defensive team nine times. His impact on the Celtics’ history is significant, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest players to put on a Celtics jersey.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Boston Celtics have produced some of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. Each of the ten players discussed in this article has left an indelible mark on the team’s history through their winning legacy, individual achievements, and impact on the game.

From Bill Russell’s unrivaled championship run to Kevin Garnett’s inspirational leadership, the Celtics’ legacy remains strong to this day.

3) Larry Bird – A Competitive Winner

Larry Bird is a legendary basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics from 1979-1992. He was known for his intense competitiveness, clutch performances, and leadership on and off the court.

Bird is widely considered as one of the greatest players in NBA history, and his impact on the Celtics’ history is undeniable.

Championship Success

Bird was a key player in the Celtics’ championship runs in 1981, 1984, and 1986. He was a leader on the court and often made key plays that helped the team win crucial games.

Bird’s competitive nature and will to win inspired his teammates to work harder and strive for greatness. He was also a two-time NBA Finals MVP, which is a testament to his impact on the team’s success.

One of Bird’s most memorable championship performances came in Game 5 of the 1984 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Bird scored 34 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists, becoming the first player to record a triple-double in a Finals game since Jerry West in 1969.

Bird’s performance helped the Celtics take a commanding 3-2 series lead, and they went on to win the championship in seven games. This game is widely regarded as one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history.

Individual Statistics

Bird’s individual statistics are impressive, and he ranks among the top players in Celtics’ history in most statistical categories. He is the Celtics’ all-time leader in steals with 1,556 and ranks in the top 3 in points, assists, rebounds, and blocked shots.

Bird’s versatility and all-around game made him a valuable asset to the team, as he could score, rebound, pass, and defend at a high level. Bird won three NBA MVP awards during his career and was a 12-time All-Star selection.

He was also an excellent shooter, making 37.6% of his career three-point attempts. Bird was a highly efficient scorer, shooting 49.6% from the field and 88.6% from the free-throw line in his career.

His proficiency as a scorer and all-around player made him a nightmare matchup for opposing teams. One of Bird’s most memorable individual performances came on March 12, 1985, in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Bird scored 60 points, which remains the Celtics’ single-game scoring record. He made 22 of 36 field goal attempts and 15 of 16 free throw attempts.

Bird’s performance helped the Celtics win the game, 126-115, and cemented his status as an all-time great. 4) John Havlicek – The Celtics’ Leading Scorer

John Havlicek is one of the greatest players in Celtics’ history.

He played for the team from 1962-1978 and won eight NBA championships during his tenure. Havlicek was known for his tireless work ethic, clutch performances, and leadership on the court.

He is the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer with 26,395 points and remains a beloved figure in the Celtics’ community to this day.

Championship Wins

Havlicek’s championship success at the Celtics is one of the greatest in NBA history. He won eight NBA championships during his tenure, including six with Bill Russell.

Havlicek was an integral part of the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1960s and 1970s, and his clutch performances in crucial playoff series helped the team win many close games. Havlicek’s most memorable championship performance came in Game 7 of the 1965 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the game tied at 100-100 and five seconds left on the clock, Havlicek stole an inbounds pass from Lakers

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