- NBA Championships: 17
- Last NBA Championship: 2008
- Claim to Fame: Only the Yankees and the Canadiens have won more championships than the Celtics.
- Claim to Shame: It took years for the Celtics to fully recovered from the loss of Len Bias, who suffered a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being chosen with the 2nd overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.
Look up the word “dynasty” in the dictionary and you’re apt to see a picture of the Boston Celtics, who won 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons from 1957 to 1969. Coached by the legendary Red Auerbach and led by the indomitable Bill Russell, those early Celtics squads out-witted, out-hustled, and out-played their opponents night after night. They never won fewer than 44 games during their celebrated run and became the first team in the history of US professional sports to win eight straight titles.
Most franchises are lucky to have a single dynasty, but Boston actually had three. The Celtics won two more championships and reached five consecutive Eastern Conference Finals from 1972-76 thanks to big-time contributions from Dave Cowens and John Havlicek.
Their string of good fortune continued in the 80’s as Boston reached the NBA Finals five more times and won three titles. Their 1986 squad led by Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, and Bill Walton is still widely considered one of the best teams ever assembled.
The Celtics won their 17th championship in 2008 and showed last season that they might not be done adding banners to the rafters at TD Garden. Brad Stevens’ overachieving squad came within a few bad bounces of reaching the Finals despite the fact that they were playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Both All-Stars are now back in the fold, and should provide the Celtics with the playmaking and composure the team missed against the Cavaliers.
Look out as well for Jayson Tatum, who averaged 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in the playoffs. The 20-year small forward looks primed to take a big step forward in 2018-19.