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8.8k voters

The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

Updated April 29, 2020 79.7k votes 8.8k voters 103.6k views133 items

List RulesPlease rank the players based only on their time with the Celtics

This is a list of 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.
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  • Bill Russell1
    4,105
    720

    Age85

    BirthplaceWest Monroe, Louisiana, United States of America

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #311 of 432 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History#388 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

  • Larry Bird2
    4,496
    798

    Larry Bird

    Small forward

    Age64

    BirthplaceWest Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana, United States of America

    Number33

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #37 of 105 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans#179 of 210 Celebrities Who Should Run for President

  • John Havlicek3
    2,189
    738

    John Havlicek

    Small forward, Shooting guard

    Age80

    BirthplaceMartins Ferry, Ohio, United States of America

    Number17

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #2 of 33 The Greatest Ohio State Basketball Players of All Time#85 of 120 The Fastest NBA Players of All Time

  • Robert Parish4
    1,709
    559

    Age66

    BirthplaceShreveport, Louisiana

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls

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    #5 of 23 The Best NBA Centers of the 1980s#8 of 30 The Best NBA Centers of the '90s

  • Kevin McHale5
    2,132
    729

    Kevin McHale

    Power forward

    Age63

    BirthplaceHibbing, Minnesota, United States of America

    Number32

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #4 of 25 The Best Power Forwards of the 80s#2 of 18 The Worst NBA Executives of All Time

  • Bob Cousy6
    1,977
    705

    Bob Cousy

    Point guard

    Age92

    BirthplaceYorkville, New York City, New York, United States of America

    TeamsCincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics

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    #51 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#102 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Paul Pierce7
    2,749
    1,023

    Paul Pierce

    Small forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceOakland, California, United States of America

    Number34

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #3 of 49 The Greatest Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Players of All Time#196 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • Kevin Garnett8
    2,276
    872

    Kevin Garnett

    Power forward

    Age44

    BirthplaceGreenville, South Carolina, United States of America

    Number5

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    #41 of 115 The Funniest Professional Athletes#7 of 31 The Best Power Forwards of the 1990s

  • Dennis Johnson9
    1,105
    427

    Dennis Johnson

    Point guard

    AgeDec. at 53 (1954-2007)

    BirthplaceSan Pedro, Los Angeles, California

    TeamsPhoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics

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    #63 of 175 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History#43 of 150 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History

  • Dave Cowens10
    1,223
    492

    Dave Cowens

    Power forward, Center

    Age71

    BirthplaceNewport, Kentucky

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

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    #38 of 69 All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked#41 of 96 The Best Rebounders in NBA History

  • Jo Jo White11
    909
    346

    Jo Jo White

    Point guard

    Age73

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    TeamsKansas City Kings, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors

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    #3 of 56 The Best NBA Players from Missouri#8 of 22 The Best Kansas Jayhawks Point Guards Of All Time

  • Sam Jones12
    1,180
    473

    Sam Jones

    Point guard, Shooting guard

    Age86

    BirthplaceWilmington, North Carolina

    TeamsBoston Celtics

    More Sam Jones 

    #8 of 27 The Best 60s NBA Shooting Guards#11 of 118 The Best NBA Players from North Carolina

  • Ray Allen13
    1,705
    767

    Ray Allen

    Shooting guard

    Age44

    BirthplaceMerced, California, United States of America

    Number34

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

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    #1 of 41 The Greatest UConn Basketball Players of All Time#12 of 31 The Most Successful NBA Free Agent Acquistions

  • K. C. Jones14
    760
    312

    K. C. Jones

    Point guard

    Age87

    BirthplaceTaylor, Texas

    TeamsBoston Celtics

  • Nate Archibald15
    763
    334

    Nate Archibald

    Point guard

    Age71

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    TeamsKansas City Kings, New York Nets, Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

    More Nate Archibald 

    #6 of 20 The Best 80s NBA Point Guards#94 of 116 The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

  • Reggie Lewis16
    630
    262

    Reggie Lewis

    Small forward

    AgeDec. at 28 (1965-1993)

    BirthplaceBaltimore, Maryland

    TeamsBoston Celtics

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    #3 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s#27 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • Tom Heinsohn17
    793
    369

    Age85

    BirthplaceJersey City, New Jersey

    TeamsBoston Celtics

    More Tom Heinsohn 

    #88 of 168 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History#106 of 227 The Greatest Offensive Players in NBA History

  • Isaiah Thomas18
    1,462
    711

    Isaiah Thomas

    Point guard

    Age31

    BirthplaceTacoma, Washington

    Number22

    TeamsWashington Wizards

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    #37 of 102 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today#94 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time

  • Danny Ainge19
    821
    382

    Danny Ainge

    Shooting guard

    Age61

    BirthplaceEugene, Oregon, United States of America

    TeamsPhoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics

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    #5 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#20 of 26 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 80s

  • Bill Walton20
    816
    388

    Age68

    BirthplaceLa Mesa, California, United States of America

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Los Angeles Clippers

    More Bill Walton 

    #16 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History#28 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

  • Cedric Maxwell21
    590
    298

    Cedric Maxwell

    Power forward

    Age64

    BirthplaceKinston, North Carolina

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers

    More Cedric Maxwell 

    #8 of 26 The Best NCAA Small Forwards of the 70s#6 of 28 The Best Boston Celtics Small Forwards of All Time

  • Rajon Rondo22
    1,269
    715

    Rajon Rondo

    Point guard

    Age34

    BirthplaceLouisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Number9

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

    More Rajon Rondo 

    #157 of 258 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#10 of 141 The Greatest Kentucky Basketball Players of All Time

  • Jaylen Brown23
    594
    128

    Jaylen Brown

    Small forward, Power forward

    Number7

    TeamsBoston Celtics

    More 

    #90 of 96 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today#33 of 294 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

  • Pete Maravich24
    686
    393

    Pete Maravich

    Shooting guard

    AgeDec. at 41 (1947-1988)

    BirthplaceAliquippa, Pennsylvania

    Number44

    TeamsUtah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Jazz

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    #11 of 161 The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings#4 of 86 The Best Second-Generation NBA Players Of All Time

  • Bill Sharman25
    499
    307

    Bill Sharman

    Shooting guard

    AgeDec. at 87 (1926-2013)

    BirthplaceAbilene, Texas

    TeamsWashington Capitols, Boston Celtics

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    #23 of 23 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 70s#89 of 874 Big Grid relations