Some sports teams epitomize excellence. For instance, the Boston Celtics are the New York Yankees of the NBA. In fact, the Celtics have been victorious in 17 NBA championship games, which is more than any other team in the history of the league! Their first championship was during the 1956-1957 season, and their most recent one was during the 2007-2008 season. In fact, the Celtics even won a record eight NBA championships in a row, from 1959-1966.
Throughout their history, key Celtics players have helped to maintain the squad's winning tradition. Here are some players whose jerseys the team has retired:
Larry Bird # 33 (number retired in February, 1993)
Bird was indeed one of the "best of the best" in the Celtics history. The Celtics won three NBA championships with Bird (1981, 1984, and 1986). Bird became renowned throughout his career, for his consistency and work ethic. He became the Most Valuable Player of the NBA, from 1984 to 1986. In addition, the NBA named Bird as the league's "Rookie of the Year," in 1980. Bird achieved several successes with the Celtics, including the top Free Throw Percentage ( .886), the second most career points (21,791), and the third most career assists (5,695).
Bob Cousey # 14 (number retired in October, 1963)
Cousey became renowned for his passing and playmaking in the NBA. Nicknamed "The Houdini of the Hardwood," Cousey played each of his 13 NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics. Bob Cousey became the MVP of the Celtics in 1957, and the NBA named him to 13 All-Star Squads. Of the total 17 NBA Championships that the Celtics have earned in their history, Cousey played on six championship teams (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1963). With 6,945 career assists, Cousey holds the Celtics record.
KC Jones # 25 (number retired in February, 1967)
Before he coached to Celtics to two NBA championships (1984, 1986), KC Jones was an outstanding Celtics player. He played on Celtics teams that won an incredible eight consecutive NBA championships (1959-1967). Furthermore, Jones led his team in assists, during three back-to-back-to-back seasons. In 1989, KC Jones became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Kevin McHale # 32 (number retired January, 1994)
McHale won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. He was an NBA All-Star in seven seasons, and has played the third most games as a Celtics player (971).
Bill Russell # 6 (number retired in March, 1972)
Experts universally consider Bill Russell to be one of the greatest basketball players throughout the history of the sport. Nine teams that he played on won NBA championships. The NBA chose Russell as the MVP for five years (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1965). In addition, Russell played in 12 All-Star games. Russell also coached the Celtics to two NBA championships (1968, and 1969), and earned a winning percentage of .661.
Several Celtics players have proved that there is no "I" in "team." Today, Boston Celtics merchandise allows you to cheer on the team as its players continue to make their own luck.