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The history of Celtics' 18th championship banner hunt


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One Franchise. 17 Championships. 23 Finals Appearances.

The Boston Celtics, seeking an unprecedented 18th title – which would break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most all-time – are no stranger to hanging banners.

Since their inaugural season in 1946, the Cs have collected 17 titles and are now back in the Finals for the second time in three years. Take a glimpse at how this year’s Finals appearance connects to their first one nearly 70 years ago.

1950s & 1960s: In 1957 – Bill Russell’s rookie season – the Celtics won their first NBA championship, marking the start of a dynasty that saw 11 titles in just 13 years, including eight in a row under coach Red Auerbach (1950-66).

11 Titles: 1957, 1959-66, 1968, 1969NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Bob Cousy (1950-63), Bill Sharman (1951-61), Bill Russell (1956-69), Sam Jones (1957-69), John Havlicek (1962-78)🗣️ Larry Bird On Russell: “He set the bar; he set it too high, but he set the bar.”

1970s: When Russell retired as a player/coach in 1969, Auerbach – then the Celtics’ top executive – handed coaching duties to Russell’s former teammate Tom Heinsohn. Under Heinsohn, captain John Havlicek and 1973 NBA MVP Dave Cowens led the squad to two titles.

2 Titles: 1974, 1976NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: John Havlicek (1962-78), Dave Cowens (1970-80)🗣️ Russell On Havlicek: “The best all-around player I ever saw.”

1980s: Havlicek hung up the sneaks in 1978, but Auerbach selected Larry Bird in that year’s NBA Draft and added Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in 1980 – planting the seeds of another dynasty.

3 Titles: 1981, 1984, 1986NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Nate Archibald (1978-83), Larry Bird (1979-92), Kevin McHale (1980-93), Robert Parish (1980-94), Bill Walton (1985-87)🗣️ Havlicek On Bird In 1985: “I think he’s the best forward to ever play the game.”

Late 2000s & Early 2010s: Boston didn’t win a title in the 1990s, but they did draft Paul Pierce in ‘98, and added GM Danny Ainge – a member of the ‘84 and ‘86 title teams. They also acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, who alongside Pierce and Rajon Rondo, helped raise banner No. 17 – the franchise’s first in 22 years.

1 Title: 2008NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Paul Pierce (1998-2013), Ray Allen (2007-12), Kevin Garnett (2007-13)🗣️ Pierce On The Celtics: “They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones, and now I’m a part of it.”

2017-Present: In 2013, Ainge traded Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn for three future First Round picks, two of which became Jaylen Brown (2016) and Jayson Tatum (2017), who have guided Boston to six ECF appearances in eight seasons and two Finals in three years.

2 Finals Appearances: 2022, 20248 ECF Appearances: 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024🗣️ Tatum On Returning To The Finals: “It’s special… you don’t take it for granted”

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