10 best players ever to play for the Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are an NBA franchise that has dominated the league for over 70 years. The team has won an incredible 17 championships, putting them joint top of most NBA franchises regarding winning titles, alongside the LA Lakers. They have also been home to countless Hall of Famers over their long history, including some of the greatest players ever to play in the league.

If you love keeping up with the latest NBA narrative, why not take a look at our list of the 10 best players who wore Celtics jerseys?

1. Bill Russell


Bill Russell played for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. During his 13-year career, he won 11 NBA championships and was named NBA Most Valuable Player five times.

Because of these impressive stats, he's often considered one of the best players ever, not just the best Celtics player! His remarkable career also led to him being awarded the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

2. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy was born in New York City and played for the Boston Celtics from 1950–1963. He was a 13-time NBA All-Star and ten-time All-StarFirst Team member. He also became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971, and off the court, Donald Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

The Celtics retired his former jersey number, 14, upon Cousy's election to the Hall of Fame. Quite an impressive record!

3. John Havlicek

John Havlicek started his professional career with the Celtics in 1962, and it was the only team he played for until retiring in 1978. Throughout these 16 years, he scored 26,395 points (20.8 ppg), and 8,007 (6.3 rpg) rebounds.

Havlicek was a 13-time All-Star and member of the All-Defensive First and Second Teams. The 8-time NA champion was voted NBA Finals MVP once, in 1974.

4. Larry Bird

Larry Bird is a three-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, three-time league MVP, and 12-time All-Star. He is also considered one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA, but his defensive skills aren't lacking either. In fact, he got a place on three All-Defensive Second Teams for this very reason.

5. Sam Jones


Sam Jones was a great player for the Boston Celtics. He played there from 1957 to 1969. A 10-time NBA Champion and five-time NBA All-Star, this shooting guard was among three Celtics players who were part of the team during its eight consecutive championship victories (between 1959-1966). For that reason alone, he deserves a spot on our list!

6. Tom Heinsohn

The 6'7" power forward was a six-time NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year in 1957. He played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1965, winning eight championships with them during that time. After retiring as a player, he went on to coach the team from 1969 to 1978 and was named Coach of the Year for his efforts in the 1972-3 season.

As a result of his impressive performance both as a player and a coach, Heinsohn is one of just four people to have their name in the Hall of Fame twice.

7. Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is a retired American professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics from 1998-2013. He was a member of the 2008 NBA championship team and led them to its 17th championship victory. After leaving the Celtics in 2013, Pierce went on to play for the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Clippers for just a short period each.

He also saw success in his early years, being voted California Mr. Basketball in 1995 when he was in high school and earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1999.

8. Dave Cowens

Dave Cowens was a center for the Celtics from 1970 to 1980. He was an eight-time All-Star, two-time champion, member of the 50th and 75th-anniversary all-time team, and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Cowens was also the Celtics' coach for a short period, from 1978 to 1979. Speaking about Cowens, John Havlicek (number three on our list) said, "No one ever did more for the Celtics than Dave did."

9. Robert Parish

You can't help but wonder how different history would have been if Robert Parish had ended up in a different city. He won four NBA championships with the Boston Celtics (and Chicago Bulls) and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, alongside teammates and other members of our list, including Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.

10. Kevin McHale


Kevin McHale was a power forward for the Boston Celtics from 1980 to 1993. He played in the NBA Finals several times, winning three championships overall and making seven All-Star appearances. His jersey number, 32, was retired by the Celtics, and his number 44 was also retired by the Minnesota Golden Gophers - the team he played for during his college career.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, our list of the best players in Boston Celtics history. This is a franchise with some pretty incredible players who have made their mark on the game, and we feel that this list represents just that. We hope you enjoyed reading about these guys as much as we enjoyed compiling this list!