Russell, Cousy, Heinsohn, Havlicek, Pierce Chosen to All-Celtics Team
In conjunction with their 75th anniversary, the Boston Celtics are unveiling their 75th Anniversary All-Celtics Team from Jan. 23 through Feb. 3. The team is comprised of 15 players who were selected to the team based upon thousands of votes cast by fans and an official voting panel that included both media members and Celtics historians.
The members of the All-Celtics Team will be unveiled in three groups of five, and in no particular order. The first five were announced Jan. 23, the second five were announced today, and the final five will be announced on a special live broadcast Thursday evening from the Encore Boston Harbor.
Below, we’ve provided brief capsules of the five players who were announced as members of the team today: Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, John Havlicek and Paul Pierce.
No. 6 – Bill Russell
There is no list of all-time Celtics greats if it doesn’t start with Bill Russell. Russell, who has in recent times been referred to as Lord of the Rings, won an astounding 11 championships with the Celtics as a player, including two for which he also served as the team’s coach. Russell played all 13 of his NBA seasons with Boston, during which he averaged 15.1 points and an incredible 22.5 rebounds per game. He totaled 21,620 rebounds during his career – nearly double the amount of the next-best player total in Celtics history. The NBA did not track steals and blocked shots during his playing days, otherwise he’d certainly have racked up impressive numbers in those two categories as well, as Russell is regarded as one of the great defensive centers of all time. Russell was chosen as the league’s Most Valuable Player five times. He was also selected to 12 All-Star appearances and 11 All-NBA teams during his 13 seasons. Russell was also known for his public push for racial equality and justice, and his constant support of mentor-mentee relationships. All of these facts are reasons why his No. 6 hangs in Boston’s rafters, and why the city of Boston erected a statue in his honor that now sits at Government Center.
No. 14 – Bob Cousy
Bob Cousy was a man before his time when it came to handling and passing the basketball. He was a magician with the ball, which is why Boston fans loved him dating back to his days as a collegiate star at the local College of the Holy Cross, and why he was rightfully nicknamed “Houdini of the Hardwood.” Cousy won six championships with Boston and was chosen as an All-Star during each of his 13 seasons with the team, including an appearance in the NBA’s very first All-Star game which was held at Boston Garden in 1951. He led the NBA in assists in eight consecutive seasons from 1953-1960. Cousy was the NBA’s 1957 MVP and was chosen to 12 All-NBA teams. The NBA also selected him to the league’s 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th anniversary teams. It’s no wonder why his No. 14 is retired by the Celtics.
No. 15 – Tommy Heinsohn
There is one person who has, in one way, shape or form, been involved in each of Boston’s 17 World Championships. That man is Tommy Heinsohn. Heinsohn is a two-time Hall of Famer as a player and a coach and is likely to become a three-time Hall of Famer following a lengthy and entertaining broadcast career as the Celtics’ color commentator. He won eight championships with Boston as a player and two as a coach, and he was a member of the organization in some capacity for the other seven titles. Heinsohn was a six-time All-Star with the Celtics and earned the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1957. He remains as the only player who has ever won the Rookie of the Year award, been named to an All-Star team, and won a championship all in the same season (1957). Heinsohn averaged 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game during his career and his No. 15 is retired by the franchise.
No. 17 – John Havlicek
Of all of the great names who have donned a Celtics uniform, no player has ever scored more points in the green and white than John “Hondo” Havlicek. Havlicek totaled 26,395 points during his career, which leads Boston’s record books and also ranks 17th in league history. He was a 13-time All-Star who won eight championships with the team from the early 1960s through the late 1970s. He played all 16 of his seasons with Boston and took home the 1974 Finals MVP award. The numbers Havlicek tallied across the board are remarkable: 26,395 points, 8,007 rebounds, 6,114 assists, 46,471 minutes played and 1,270 games played. Havlicek’s No. 17 is retired by the team and he was chosen to the NBA’s 35th, 50th and 75th anniversary teams.
No. 34 – Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce is the Celtics legend with whom 80s and 90s babies in New England grew up. He was drafted by the team 10th overall in 1998 and played his first 15 seasons with the franchise while making it a point to show the nine teams that passed on him on draft night that they made a mistake. Pierce went on to play in 10 All-Star games as a member of the Celtics and led the franchise to its 17th championship in 2008 while earning Finals MVP honors. He was a four-time All-NBA selection and is one of three players in franchise history to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, along with Larry Bird and Dave Cowens. His 24,021 points in a Celtics uniform ranks second behind only John Havlicek. Pierce is the most recent player to have his number retired by the franchise, as his No. 34 was raised to the rafters Feb. 11, 2018. Pierce was chosen by the NBA as a member of the 75th anniversary team.