Ranking the Best Boston Celtics Players of All Time

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Former Boston Celtics player, Bill Russell, during his first years with the franchise.
(Wikimedia Commons/Unknown author)
Colton Pool @CPoolReporter Jan 17, 2023, 1:41 PM
  • The Boston Celtics have the most Hall of Famers in the NBA.
  • Bill Russell and Larry Bird are two of the greatest Celtics ever.

The Boston Celtics have the most basketball Hall of Famers among NBA teams with 41. That kind of sustained success means they are usually among NBA odds leaders to make the playoffs and win championships.

Here’s a look at the best Hall of Fame players that have helped the Celtics win 17 NBA titles, which is tied with the Lakers for the most ever.

Ranking the Best Boston Celtics Players of All Time

RankPlayerPositionCeltics Years
1Bill RussellC1956-69
2Larry BirdF1979-92
3John HavlicekF/G1962-78
4Kevin McHaleF1980-93
5Robert ParishC1980-94
6Bob CousyG1950-63
7Paul PierceF/G1998-2013
8Dave CowensC/F1970-80
9Bill SharmanG1951-61
10Sam JonesG/F1957-69

10. Sam Jones

Sam Jones won 10 NBA championships with the Celtics, and yet he doesn’t even have the franchise record in that department. 

Jones was a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection and is seventh in the franchise’s all-time ranks with 15,411 points.

9. Bill Sharman

A member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, Bill Sharman made the All-NBA team seven times and the All-Star team on eight occasions. 

The eventual NBA coach helped Boston win four titles.

8. Dave Cowens

Dave Cowens, the 1972-73 MVP, won two championships with the Celtics before a coaching career of his own. 

The NBA 75th Anniversary Team member was an eight-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA pick, three-time all-defensive team member and the 1970-71 Rookie of the Year. In Celtics record books, he’s third in rebounds (10,170), sixth in blocks (473), ninth in points (13,192), 10th in assists (2,828) and tied for 10th in steals (569).

7. Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce’s career was greatly successful even before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen went to Boston and they won a title in 2008 when Pierce was the NBA Finals MVP. 

Pierce was an All-Star 10 times and an All-NBA selection four times en route to a place on the 75th NBA Anniversary Team. Pierce has the franchise record for career steals (1,583) and is second in points (24,021), fourth in blocks (668), fifth in assists (4,305) and seventh in rebounds (6,651).

6. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, the 1956-57 MVP, led the NBA in assists for eight seasons and has the most in Celtics history with 6,945 while being sixth with 16,955 points.

The eventual coach was a 13-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA honoree, six-time NBA champion and a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

5. Robert Parish

Robert Parish played until he was 43 years old, but most of his career was with the Celtics. He’s first in the franchise’s history with 1,703 blocks, second with 11,051 rebounds and fourth with 18,245 points and 873 steals. 

He was an All-Star on nine occasions, an All-NBA selection twice and a four-time NBA champion, earning him a place on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

4. Kevin McHale

Before becoming an NBA executive and coach, Kevin McHale helped the Celtics win three NBA championships. 

The NBA 75th Anniversary Team member was a seven-time All-Star, six-time all-defensive team pick and two-time sixth man of the year award winner. He’s second with 1,690 blocks, fifth with 17,335 points and sixth with 7,122 rebounds in the Celtics record books.

3. John Havlicek

John Havlicek deserves a place as a top-three Celtic of all time as he’s the franchise leader in points (26,395) and is second in assists (6,114) and fifth in rebounds (8,007). 

He was an eight-time NBA champion while being the NBA Finals MVP in 1973-74, 13-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection, eight-time all-defensive team pick and part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

2. Larry Bird

Larry Bird certainly has an argument for the first spot on this list as he’s top five in the Boston record books in steals (second, 1,556), points (third, 21,791), assists (third, 5,695), blocks (third, 755) and rebounds (fourth, 8,974). 

While winning three NBA championships, “Larry Legend” was the league MVP three times, an All-Star 12 times, All-NBA selection 10 times, all-defensive team member three times, NBA Finals MVP two times and the 1979-80 Rookie of the Year before becoming a coach and executive en route to a place on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

1. Bill Russell

Bill Russell’s 11 NBA titles is more than anyone else in the history of the league, and he is the franchise leader in rebounds (21,620) while being sixth in assists (4,100) and eighth in points (14,522). 

An NBA 75th Anniversary Team member, Russell was a five-time MVP, 12-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection and 1968-69 all-defensive team member while leading the league in rebounds four times. Russell also coached the Celtics during two of those championship years.

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About the Author

Colton Pool

Read More @CPoolReporter

Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.

Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.