The Boston Celtics from Boston, Massachusetts play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA), their home venue being the TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Boston Bruins. Their name, colors and mascot 'Lucky the Leprechaun' is an appreciation of the team's Irish heritage and of Boston's historically large Irish population.
Founded in 1946 and one of eight NBA teams (out of 23 total teams) to survive the league's first decade, the team is regarded as the 3rd most successful franchise to date in the major four traditional North American professional sports. They made an early mark by becoming in 1950, the first basketball franchise to draft an African American player, when they signed Chuck Cooper.
In the early years the Celtics struggled but the hiring of Coach Red Auerbach changed things very much for the better. He built a team which included center Bill Russell and standout Tommy Heinsohn which in 1956 gave the Celtics the first of their 17 NBA Championships. From 1959 the Celtics won eight titles in a row which remains a record for American professional sport.
The Celtics have met the Lakers a record 12 times in the Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, where the Celtics have won nine meeting, although only two of these have been since 1980. 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 10 MVP awards.
The Celtics rose again after struggling through the 1990s to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo in what was known as the new "Big 3" era, following the original "Big 3" era of the 1980s that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. Larry played all 13 seasons with Celtics, was a three-time NBA champion and a three-time NBA MVP. Kevin was a center who also played all 13 seasons and had the distinction of being chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.
After the end of the Big 3, general manager Danny Ainge began a rebuilding process with the help of new head coach Brad Stevens, who led the Celtics to a return to the playoffs in 2015.
The overall success of the team has been phenomenal- the Celtics have a NBA record 17 Championships including 8 in a row, or 11 championships in 13 years. They also have 52 playoff appearances. Such is the prestige and the passion of this team that one can be sure that further honors cannot be far away and tickets will be much in demand.
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