The Boston Celtics (ˈsɛlˌtɪks) are a professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association. Founded in 1946 and one of eight NBA teams (out of 23 total teams) to survive the league's first decade, 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 National Hockey League's Boston Bruins. The franchise's seventeen championships are the most for any NBA franchise, and account for 25.4% of all NBA championships since the league's founding in 1946. This makes the Boston Celtics the most successful franchise to date in the major four traditional North American professional sports.
From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics dominated the league, winning eleven championships in thirteen years and eight in a row (1959–1966), the longest consecutive streak of any North American professional sports team. The Celtics dominated the league during the late 1950s and through the mid-1980s, 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 sixteen Championships. Before the retirement of the "Big Three", who included Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, 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 two days 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 2007–08 season when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce as the new "Big Three," leading the team to its seventeenth championship in 2008 and an Eastern Conference title in 2010. During this time, point guard Rajon Rondo developed into a perennial all-star. The Celtics have met the Lakers a record twelve times in the Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, with the Celtics winning nine and Lakers winning three. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were later traded to the Brooklyn Nets. 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 ten MVP awards. Their mascot 'Lucky the Leprechaun' is a nod to the team's Irish heritage and to Boston's historically large Irish population.
17 NBA Championships (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)
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