The Boston Celtics have one of the richest traditions in the entire NBA. The organization almost always seems to have a talented team, going back to the Larry Bird days, and even now with Jayson Tatum and their other young stars. So, when looking at the entire history of the franchise, how many total NBA championships have the Celtics won?
The Boston Celtics dominated with Bill Russell in the 1960s
Big man Bill Russell began playing for the Boston Celtics in 1956-57, and that was the start of the team’s decade-plus of dominance.
The Celtics won their first NBA championship over the St. Louis Hawks in seven games during the 1956-57 season. Then, after losing in the NBA Finals the next season, the Celtics — coached by Red Auerbach — won eight straight NBA championships from 1958-59 through 1965-66. The Celtics did not reach the Finals during the 1966-67 season, but they won two straight championships in 1967-68 and 1968-69.
Boston had some excellent players during those seasons, but Russell was incredible. He led the NBA in rebounds per game in five different seasons, and he ultimately averaged 22.5 rebounds per game for his career to go with 15.1 points per game.
They were also excellent during the Larry Bird days
Following Russell’s time with the Celtics, the team won two championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76. They were led by the likes of John Havlicek and Dave Cowens in those days.
However, the Celtics were really good again during Larry Bird’s era. They won three NBA championships from 1980-81 through 1986-87 and had five NBA Finals appearances. The Celtics made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals from 1983-84 through 1986-87.
Also leading the Celtics during those days were Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. While Bird is a Hall of Famer as he averaged 24.3 points and 10 rebounds for his career, McHale is also a Hall of Famer as he averaged 17.9 points per game and 7.3 rebounds is his career. Parish is also in the Hall of Fame as he averaged 14.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.
Following the 1986-87 season, when the Celtics lost in the Finals to the LA Lakers, they did not reach the NBA Finals again until 2007-08. Led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, the Celtics won the championship that season. They also went back to the NBA Finals in 2009-10 but lost to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
How many NBA championships have the Boston Celtics won?
The Celtics have, obviously, had a lot of success throughout the years. Bill Russell’s teams certainly have a lot to do with their total number of championships won. In total, the franchise has won 17 NBA championships. They have also been to the NBA Finals four other times.
So, how does that compare to some other NBA franchises? Their 17 titles are actually the most. The Lakers have won 16 championships while the Chicago Bulls and the Warriors have both won six, and the San Antonio Spurs have won five.
The Celtics, however, certainly have a shot to increase their total number of championships in the coming years. They have some young, talented players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They also have some talented veterans in Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward. The Lakers have a good shot at catching them and winning their 17th, though, as they are led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Whether they win another championship over the next few years or not, the Celtics seem to be contenders to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy every season.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference