With the retirement of Kevin Garnett’s jersey, the debate has come up once again about the Celtics’ retired jerseys. As someone who believes Boston has WAY too many retired numbers, here’s my breakdown on who should stay up and who should come down.
NUMBERS THAT SHOULD BE RETIRED
00 Robert Parish: Playing 14 seasons with the Celtics, “The Chief” was a 9 time All-Star and won 3 rings with Boston. He played in an NBA record 1,611 career games and is personally on my Top 50 players of all-time list.
5 Kevin Garnett: Despite playing only 6 seasons with Boston, Garnett’s impact cannot be understated. In 2008, he helped the Celtics go from 24 wins to 66 wins and win the 2008 NBA Championship. He also won Defensive Players of the Year in 2008 and made the All-Star team 5x with the Celtics.
6 Bill Russell: The greatest winner in the history of basketball, DUH!
10 JoJo White: In 10 seasons with Boston, White made 7 straight All-Star games and won two rings with the team (’74 and ’76). He also won the Finals MVP on the 1976 team
14 Bob Cousy: Part of the OG Big 3, Cousy was ran point of the legendary Celtics’ dynasty. Cousy won the 1957 MVP and won 6 rings as along with fellow greats Bill Russell and John Havlicek.
15 Tom Heinsohn: As a player, head coach, and a broadcaster; Tommy Heinsohn is simply “Mr. Celtic”. As a player, won 8 rings and was a 6 time champion. As a coach, he won another 2 rings. Finally as a broadcaster, he has called Celtics games regularly since 1981. If you’re part of an organization for 60+ years, you deserve you’re number retired easily.
17 John Havlicek: The all-time leading scorer in Celtics’ history, Havlicek is one of the 20 greatest players of all-time. Not only did “Hondo” revolutionize the 6th Man role, but he also was a 13x All-Star and won 8 rings along side Russell and Cousy.
18 Dave Cowens: The 1973 MVP, Cowens helped lead the Celtics to the 1974 and 1976 NBA Championships. During his 10 seasons with Boston, Cowens made 8 All-Star games and was named to the All-Defensive Team in 1976.
21 Bill Sharman: After Russell, Havlicek, and Cousey; Bill Sharman was arguably the best player after the Celtics’ OG Big 3. Sharman spent 10 seasons in Boston won 4 rings, made the All-NBA 1st Team 4x, and was an All-Star 8x.
24 Sam Jones: The 2nd winningest player in NBA history with 10 rings, Jones was a crucial part of the Celtics’ legendary dynasty. He averaged 17.7 points per game for his career and made 5 All-Star Games to go along with those 10 rings.
32 Kevin McHale: Considered one of the best bigs of all-time, McHale was the perfect Robin to Larry Bird’s Batman. McHale made 7 All-Star Games, 3 All-Defensive Teams, 2 6th Man of the Year awards, and won 3 rings along side Bird and Parish.
33 Larry Bird: The greatest Celtic in the history of the franchise, DUH!
34 Paul Pierce: Spending 15 years with the team, Paul Pierce brought the Celtics back to greatness. He was a 10x All-Star, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, and the 2nd all-time leading scorer in franchise history. He was “The Truth” indeed.
NUMBERS THAT SHOULD NOT BE RETIRED
1 Walter Brown: The original owner of the Celtics did not wear this jersey.
2 Red Auerbach: Arguably the greatest coach in the history of the league, Auerbach did not wear this jersey like Brown. It’s a dumb idea for these two.
3 Dennis Johnson: This was the hardest one, but ultimately, Johnson misses the cut. In 7 seasons with Boston, Johnson won two rings but only made the All-Star team once. He spent most of his time with Boston but his best years were with Phoenix.
16 Tom Sanders: While he was a valuable role player on the legendary Celtics dynasty (won 8 rings), Tom “Satch” Sanders never averaged more than 13 points per game.
19 Don Nelson: While he was another great role on those 60’s and 70’s teams, Don Nelson was never close to making an All-Star team.
22 Ed Macauley: Despite making the All-Star Team every season he was with the team (6 seasons), Ed Maculey never won a ring with Boston. Winning one ring should be a requirement for you to get your number retired with Boston.
23 Frank Ramsey: Similar to Sanders and Nelson, Ramsey was a really good role player on those legendary but never made an All-Star Team.
25 K.C. Jones: K.C. Jones’ career averages are 7.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 4.3 APG. I don’t care how many rings you win, that’s not enough to have no one wear your jersey again.
31 Cedric Maxwell: “Cornbread” is one of the most Celtics over the last 40 years and he did win the 1981 NBA Finals MVP. But he never made an All-Star team in his 8 seasons with Boston.
35 Reggie Lewis: What happened to Reggie Lewis was a tragedy, let me get that out of the way. But they retired his jersey 2 years after he died. It wasn’t a knee jerk reaction and he didn’t do enough in his 6 seasons. But could you have imagined both Lewis and Len Bias leading the Celtics in the 90s? Boston would have never fallen off.
Also, I’m a no on 20 for Ray Allen and 9 for Rajon Rondo. But they both have legit cases for each number. Considering Hayward is currently wearing 20 and Wanamaker is currently wearing 9, the Celtics seem to be a no as well.
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