Sam Jones, Robert Parish, Dave Cowens, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Jeff Hornacek, Tom Heinsohn, and Bob Cousy are just some of the countless legends that have worn the green and white Boston Celtics jersey. They paved the way for those who came after and made them the winningest team in NBA history, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers with 17 NBA championships. Needless to say, it will be a lot of time before any other franchise can meet any of them at the top.
The Boston Celtics were the most dominant team in the world during basketball's early days. They haven't been as successful over the past three decades or so but they're still one of the most popular and intimidating franchises in all sports.
Being a Boston Celtic is all about winning. Playing at the TD Garden means leaving everything on the court every single night out there but once you win the love and admiration of their fanbase, they'll be by your side until the end. Today, we're going to honor some of the guys who did it, by letting you know about the top 10 greatest players in Boston Celtics history.
Honorable Mention: JoJo White, Dennis Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Danny Ainge, Nate Archibald
The 10 Greatest Players In Boston Celtics History
10. Sam Jones
While he doesn't get nearly half of the credit he should, Sam Jones played a vital part in the Boston Celtics' dynasty. He was Bill Russell's gunman and the guy who carried the scoring load for the team while he anchored the defense in the paint.
Jones was a master of the mid-range and his iconic bank-shots was money more often than not. He was a gifted athlete and a savvy scorer who helped the Celtics win not one, not two, but 10 NBA championships.
9. Tom Heinsohn
Once again, a player from the Bill Russell era who people don't talk often enough makes our list. Tom Heinsohn was a physical presence at the four, and while he wasn't as big as some of his rivals, he made up for it with his never-ending hustle and grit.
Heinsohn had a sweet scoring touch from all over the paint during his prime, and his ability to gain and maintain position made him a dominant rebounder on both ends of the floor. He played for 9 seasons and won 8 rings.
8. Robert Parish
Robert Parish is the kind of big man that would be perfectly suited for today's game. He was a solid rim protector and defensive anchor that could also shock you every now and then from the perimeter, a walking double-double and the ultimate hustler.
Paris was the true definition of consistency during his 14 seasons with the Boston Celtics, looming below the rim next to Kevin McHale and helping them win 4 NBA championships. He was a willing facilitator and a better playmaker and ball-handler than most big men.
7. Bob Cousy
Bob Cousy was perhaps the first truly great point guard in the history of the Association. He could run the break, find the open guy, and put the ball in a favorable spot for his teammate on every single possession. He made passes no other player could back then.
Cousy was a never-ending source of energy and had the best handles in the game during his prime, and while he wasn't much of an efficient scorer, he had a great feel for drawing contact and getting his bread at the charity stripe. He won 6 rings with the Celtics.
6. Dave Cowens
Dave Cowens was the ultimate hustler. He wasn't the most skilled or agile player on the court but his defensive relentlessness made him one of the most feared and respected players in the world. Despite being undersized, he could guard one through five.
Cowens was tough, physical, and wouldn't mind putting his body on the line every single possession. His grit, grind, and desire to prevent a bucket at all-cost helped the Celtics win a couple of rings.
5. Paul Pierce
While Paul Pierce was only able to lead the Boston Celtics to two NBA Finals and one ring, he still has a place as one of the five greatest players in franchise history, and perhaps the last true idol and icon they had.
Pierce wasn't athletic but made up for it with one of the smoothest jump shots in the history of the game. He was a guy you could trust with a big-time shot and that thrived when it mattered the most, a top-notch competitor that would never back down from a challenge.
4. Kevin McHale
Kevin McHale was the living example that it didn't matter whether you started a game or not. If you were good, you'd get your minutes. He had one of the smoothest foot-works in the history of basketball and was the perfect guy to play next to Larry Bird.
McHale has a strong case for being the greatest scorer in the post to ever play the game of basketball. In fact, those guarding him were known to be in 'The Torture Chamber' thanks to his skills and savviness. He won 3 rings and was a tough guy who wouldn't mind playing through injuries.
3. John Havlicek
John Havlicek was a tough and gifted athlete that could've also thrived in the NFL. He could do a little bit of everything and his defensive impact was only topped by his ability to score or get his teammates involved.
'Hondo' was a threat in passing lanes and could play - and defend - both guard spots and even at the three if needed. He was a terrific shooter for his time and one of the most iconic players of his time as well. The Celtics won 8 rings in 16 seasons with him on the team.
2. Larry Bird
Long before LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Larry Bird was the unanimous choice as the greatest small forward of all time. The only thing smoother than his jump shot and footwork was his trash-talking.
Bird was one of the best shooters of all time but his defensive impact was also duly noted night in and night out. He won 3 straight MVPs and led the Boston Celtics to 3 NBA championships during the all-time high of his rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers.
1. Bill Russell
Younger fans tend to be petty to Bill Russell because of the time he played in. And while some of his accolades could be taken with a grain of salt, he's still the winningest player in the history of basketball.
Russell was the most dominant defender in the world during his prime. He owned the glass and swatted shots at will, leading his team to 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career. That's never going to be topped or even matched.