|Founded||6 June 1946|
|History||Boston Celtics (1946–present)|
|Team colors||Green, White, Black, Gold|
|Owner(s)||Boston Basketball Partners L.L.C.|
|General manager||Danny Ainge|
|Head coach||Doc Rivers|
|D-League affiliate||Maine Red Claws|
|Championships||17 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)|
|Conference titles||21 (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2008, 2010)|
|Division titles||19 (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010)|
|Retired numbers||21 (00, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, LOSCY, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33, 35, MIC)|
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|} The Boston Celtics are National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which they share with the Boston Blazers (NLL), and the Boston Bruins of the NHL. The Celtics' 17 NBA Championships are the most for any NBA franchise,with the Los Angeles Lakers following closely behind with 16. From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics dominated the league winning 11 championships in 13 years, and eight in a row (1959–1966), the longest consecutive championship streak of any North American pro sports team.
The Celtics have dominated the league during the late 50’s and through the mid 80’s, with the help of many Hall of Famers which include Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird and legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, combined for a 795–397 record that helped the Celtics win 16 Championships. During that span the Celtics met the Lakers 12 times in the Finals during the mid 1950's and 80's with the Celtics winning nine and Lakers winning three. Before the retirement of the “Big 3” (Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale), and thanks to some creative maneuvering by Auerbach, the Celtics had drafted second overall pick Len Bias but the team fell into decline as the college star died the day after he was drafted. Later, the team suffered another tragedy when their star player Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack in his prime.
The franchise returned to prominence during the 2007–2008 season when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce and the new "Big Three" led the team to its 17th championship. Four Celtics (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards.
The Boston Celtics were formed in 1946 under the ownership of Walter A. Brown as a team in the Basketball Association of America, and became part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the merger of the BAA and the National Basketball League in the fall of 1949. In 1950, the Celtics became the first franchise to draft an African American player, signing Chuck Cooper. In 1951 Brown, who was one of the founders of the Ice Capades in 1940, bought the Boston Bruins National Hockey League franchise as well, when the founder Charles Adams' son Weston faced financial trouble. Brown was looking to fill the Boston Garden when the Celtics had a night off or were on the road.
The Celtics struggled during their early years, until the hiring of coach Red Auerbach who had coached in the military during WW II. In the early days of the franchise Auerbach had no assistants, ran all the practices, did all the scouting—both of opposing teams and college draft prospects—and scheduled all the road trips. One of the first great players to join the Celtics was Bob Cousy, whom Auerbach initially refused to draft out of nearby Holy Cross because he was "too flashy". Cousy eventually became the property of the Chicago Stags., but when that franchise went bankrupt, Cousy was acquired by the Celtics in a dispersal draft. After the 1955–56 season, Auerbach made a stunning trade. He sent perennial All-Star Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks along with the draft rights to Cliff Hagan in exchange for the second overall pick in the draft. After negotiating with the Rochester Royals—a negotiation that included a promise that the Celtics owner would send the highly sought-after Ice Capades to Rochester if the Royals would let Russell slide to #2—Auerbach used the pick to select University of San Francisco center Bill Russell. Auerbach also acquired Holy Cross standout, and 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year, Tommy Heinsohn. Russell and Heinsohn worked extraordinarily well with Cousy, and they were the players around whom Auerbach would build the champion Celtics for more than a decade. Russell, who delayed joining until the middle of the 1957 season in order to play for the U.S. Olympic Team, had an immediate impact.
The Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals and defeated the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, giving the Celtics the first of their record 17 NBA Championships. In 1958, the Celtics again advanced to the NBA Finals, this time losing to the Hawks in 6 games. However, with the acquisition of K.C. Jones that year, the Celtics began a dynasty that would last for more than a decade. In 1959, with Cousy at point guard, Russell at center and Heinsohn at forward, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers. Still coached by Auerbach, the Celtics won seven more consecutive championships, a record eight in a row. During that time, the Celtics met the Lakers in the Finals five times, starting an intense and often bitter rivalry that has spanned generations. In 1964, Auerbach made the Celtics the first team to have an all African American starting lineup. The Boston Celtics of the mid-1950s–60's are widely considered as one of the most dominant teams of all time.
Retired as coach after the 1965–66 season and Russell took over as player-coach, which was Auerbach's ploy to keep Russell interested. With his appointment, Russell also became the first Black coach in the NBA. Evan would remain the General Manager, retiring after a year a position he would hold well into the 1980s. However, that year the Celtics' string of NBA titles was broken as they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The aging team managed two more championships in 1968 and 1969, defeating the Lakers each time in the NBA Finals. Russell retired after the 1969 season, effectively ending a dominant Celtics dynasty that had garnered 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons. The streak of 8 consecutive NBA championships is the longest streak of consecutive championships in U.S. professional sports history.
The 1970 season was a rebuilding year, as the Celtics had their first losing record since the 1949–50 season. However, with the acquisition of Dave Cowens, Paul Silas and Jo Jo White, the Celtics soon became dominant again. After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1972, the Celtics regrouped and came out determined in 1973 and posted an excellent 68–14 regular season record. But the season ended in disappointment, as they were upset in 7 games by the New York Knicks in the Conference Finals. The Celtics returned to the playoffs the next year, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals in 1974 for their 12th NBA Championship.  The teams split the first four games, and after the Celtics won Game 5 in Milwaukee they headed back to Boston leading 3 games to 2, with a chance to claim the title on their home court. However, the Bucks won Game 6 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nestled in a hook shot with 3 seconds left in the game's second overtime, and the series returned to Milwaukee. But Cowens was the hero in Game 7, scoring 28 points, as the Celtics brought the title back to Boston for the first time in five years. In 1976, the team won yet another championship, defeating the Phoenix Suns in 6 games. The Finals featured one of the greatest games in the history of the NBA. With the series tied at two games apiece, the Suns trailed early in the Boston Garden, but came back to force overtime. In double overtime, a Gar Heard turn-around jumper at the top of the key sent the game to an unprecedented third overtime, at which point the Celtics prevailed. Tommy Heinsohn coached the team for those two championships. After the 1976 championship and a playoff appearance in 1977, Boston went into another phase of rebuilding. In the 1977 NBA Draft, the Celtics drafted a young forward from UNC Charlotte named Cedric Maxwell. "Cornbread" Maxwell did not contribute much in his rookie season, but he showed promise. Auerbach's job became even tougher following the 1977–78 season in which they went 32–50 as John Havlicek, the Celtics' all-time leading scorer, retired after 16 seasons.