The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

Over 10.3K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Boston Celtics of All Time
Voting Rules
Please rank the players based only on their time with the Celtics

Who are the best Boston Celtics of all time? When people think of the NBA, one of the first teams that comes to mind is the Boston Celtics. Throughout the franchise's storied history, the Celtics have had many of the greatest players of all time on its roster. The number of the game's greatest players to play in Boston is an embarrassment of riches compared to many of the league's also-rans. Bill Russell was the first great player to wear the Celtics green and white. During his tenure with the team, the Celtics won a whopping 11 championships in 13 legendary seasons. Russell is considered the best player of his generation and one of the best centers of all time.

This wouldn't be a proper Ultimate List if we didn't include Larry Bird on it. Perhaps the most popular player in Celtics history, Larry Legend is one of the best small forwards of all time. During his historic run in Boston, Bird, along with teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, powered the Celtics to five NBA Finals berths, winning three championships.

After Bird retired, the Celtics relied on Paul Pierce as the team's leader. Along with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, Pierce led the Celtics to a league record 17th championship when it defeated the rival Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. These three players are beloved by Celtics fans and look at them as some of greatest players to wear a Celtics uniform.

Vote up the best Boston Celtics of all time, and help decide who is the greatest player to ever wear the green and white!

Most divisive: Artis Gilmore
Ranked by
  • Larry Bird
    Small forward
    6,748 votes
    • Birthplace: French Lick Township, Indiana

    A basketball legend and the embodiment of Celtics pride, Larry Bird revolutionized the game with his precise shooting, unparalleled basketball IQ, and tenacious competitive spirit. A fierce competitor on the court, Bird consistently displayed an uncanny ability to make his teammates better while taking on the game's best defenders. His indomitable will and unmatched clutch gene made him one of the most feared and respected players in NBA history.

  • Bill Russell
    6,291 votes
    • Birthplace: West Monroe, Louisiana

    A defensive force and relentless winner, Bill Russell forever altered the trajectory of the Celtics franchise by anchoring their dynasty throughout the 1960s. With an unprecedented grasp of timing, positioning, and shot-blocking, Russell altered countless games single-handedly and remains the gold standard for what a dominant defender should look like. His unwavering commitment to winning, leadership, and impact on the game remain unparalleled, as he stands among the greatest to ever play the sport.

  • Kevin McHale
    Power forward
    3,841 votes
    • Birthplace: Hibbing, Minnesota

    An offensive wizard in the low post, Kevin McHale tormented opponents with his diverse array of moves and an uncanny ability to finish through contact. A vital cog in the Celtics' machine during the 1980s, McHale teamed up with fellow legends Larry Bird and Robert Parish to form one of the most formidable frontlines in NBA history. His devastatingly effective scoring, paired with a relentless defensive intensity, proved instrumental in securing multiple championships.

  • Paul Pierce
    Small forward
    4,839 votes
    • Birthplace: Oakland, California

    Known for his clutch play and scoring prowess, Paul Pierce secured his place in Celtics lore with a storied career spanning 15 seasons and a pivotal role in delivering Boston's 17th championship. An offensive maestro, Pierce could create shots from anywhere on the floor, earning the nickname "The Truth" with his fearless, unapologetic scoring style. Beyond his impressive offensive skills, Pierce also proved to be a tenacious defender and a natural-born leader, fully embodying the Celtics' spirit.

  • Bob Cousy
    Point guard
    3,681 votes
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City

    Bob Cousy, nicknamed "The Houdini of the Hardwood," dazzled fans and opponents alike with his jaw-dropping ball-handling abilities and creative playmaking. Known for his deft behind-the-back passes and flashy dribbling, Cousy epitomized the prototypical floor general, setting up his teammates for success time after time. His innovative style of play influenced generations of point guards, forever changing the course of basketball and helping to usher in a new era of the game.

  • John Havlicek
    Small forward, Shooting guard
    3,989 votes
    • Birthplace: Martins Ferry, Ohio

    A symbol of relentless hustle and unselfish play, John Havlicek left an indelible mark on Celtics history with his iconic steal and consistent production across 16 seasons. Known for his unmatched stamina and relentless motor, "Hondo" never took a play off, embodying the true spirit of Celtics basketball. His ability to contribute on both ends of the floor -whether he was unleashing an offensive barrage or shutting down the opposition's best scorer- cemented Havlicek's status as a Celtics legend.