By the Numbers: Top C's of All Time - 31-43

What’s the toughest thing for a player to do when he joins the Boston Celtics? Pick a number.

The Celtics have retired 21 numbers since their inception in 1946. As you may surmise, a lot of great players have walked through their doors. That includes players who haven’t had their number retired by the Celtics, which brings us to this series.

We’re taking a look at every number that has been retired or donned by one of Boston’s players, then we’re selecting the greatest Celtic who has worn each number. This series consist of six installments. This edition takes a look at Nos. 31-43.

No. 31 – Cedric Maxwell

Cedric Maxwell played eight of his 11 seasons with Boston and has been the Celtics’ radio color commentator for the past 18 seasons. He won two championships with the team and was named the Finals MVP in 1981 after averaging 17.7 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per game against Houston. The Celtics retired his No. 31 jersey on Dec. 15, 2003. Maxwell finished his career in Boston with averages of 13.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 2.3 APG and still owns the franchise’s single-season record for field goal percentage (60.9 percent in 1979-80).

Other considerations: None

No. 32 – Kevin McHale

There are many NBA pundits who refer to Kevin McHale as the greatest post player in NBA history. McHale played all 13 of his seasons in Boston and retired with averages of 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 4.9 APG. He won three titles with the C’s and was a seven-time All-Star. McHale averaged at least 20.9 PPG for five straight seasons from 1985-86 to 1989-90, maxing out with 26.1 PPG in 1987-88. He chose to retire in 1993 after playing several seasons with foot injuries. The Celtics raised his number to the rafters the next season, on Jan. 30, 1994.

Other considerations: None

No. 33 – Larry Bird

Larry Bird is one of the sacred names in NBA history. Larry Legend, as he is known in Boston, is one of the greatest Celtics of all time. He played all 13 of his seasons with the Celtics and led the team to three championships. Bird’s resume includes two Finals MVP awards, three league MVP awards, 12 All-Star appearances, an All-Star MVP award and a Rookie of the Year award, just to name a few. He averaged more than 20.0 PPG in 11 of his 13 seasons, including a career-high 29.9 PPG in 1987-88. Bird finished his career with averages of 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 6.3 APG. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, five years after the Celtics retired his No. 33 jersey on Feb. 4, 1993.

Other considerations: None

No. 34 – Paul Pierce

Fifteen seasons. One championship. A Finals MVP. More than 24,000 points. Ten straight All-Star appearances. That’s a quick summary of what Paul Pierce accomplished in Boston before moving on to Brooklyn this summer. Pierce is undoubtedly one of the greatest Celtics of all time, and it’s a safe bet to assume that the Celtics will retire his number shortly after his career comes to an end.

Other considerations: None

No. 35 – Reggie Lewis

Reggie Lewis was on his way to stardom before suddenly passing away on July 27, 1993. He averaged at least 17.0 PPG in each of his final five seasons, including 20.8 PPG in his final two seasons. Lewis, who was chosen by the Celtics with the 22nd overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, made the NBA All-Star team in 1992. The franchise elected to retire his No. 35 jersey in 1995 to commemorate a budding career that ended far too soon.

Other considerations: None

No. 36 – Shaquille O'Neal

This one was easy. Shaquille O’Neal remains as the only player in Celtics history to wear No. 36. He spent just one injury-plagued season with the team, in 2010-11, and averaged 9.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG.

Other considerations: None

No. 37 – Has not been worn

No. 38 – Has not been worn

No. 39 – Has not been worn

No. 40 – Dino Radja

The Celtics chose Dino Radja with the 40th overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. He didn’t join the team until 1993, as he stayed overseas to play, but the wait was well worth it. Radja made an immediate impact by averaging 15.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG as a rookie. He upped his scoring average in each of his first three seasons, with a high water mark of 19.7 PPG in 1995-96. Radja injured his left knee during his final season with the team and was waived on July 16, 1997.

Other considerations: None

No. 41 – James Posey

Despite playing only one season with Boston and serving as a reserve, James Posey is the greatest Celtic to wear No. 41. He played a major role in the Celtics’ title run in 2007-08 by providing staunch defense and hitting critical baskets. Posey averaged 7.4 PPG and 4.4 RPG while hitting 38.0 percent of his 3s during his only season with the team.

Other considerations: Curtis Rowe

No. 42 – Tony Allen

Much like Posey, Tony Allen served as an important reserve on Boston’s 2008 championship team. Allen built his reputation as a defensive specialist during his six seasons in Boston. He finished his career with the Celtics with averages of 7.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG.

Other considerations: Chris Ford, Vin Baker

No. 43 – Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins arrived in Boston in 2003 as an 18-year-old, raw center. He left the team in 2011 as an NBA champion, one of the top defensive centers in the league, and one of the most beloved Celtics of the previous decade. Perkins was the team’s starting center when the C’s won the 2008 title. He averaged 6.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG during seven-plus seasons with the team. Perkins also made 55.8 percent of his shots during his time in Boston.

Other considerations: Gerald Henderson, Tony Harris


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