When you're a Celtic, it's not easy to leave your mark. You've got to win multiple titles, not just one, and you must leave no doubt that you're one of the all-time greats.
Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Larry Bird were up to that challenge.
Is Paul Pierce? Is Kevin Garnett? Is Ray Allen?
That's what we're about to find out.
So with that in mind, let's compare these current C's to the past greats. Here's a look at the first 17 championship teams in Celtics history, and how the current men in green stack up:
2008 Celtics — Beat Lakers in NBA Finals in six games
What made them champs: A newly assembled Big Three, the big man down low in Kendrick Perkins, and a rising star running the point in Rajon Rondo.
How 2010 Celtics compare: It's still the same five guys running the show. The Big Three are two years older, which can't be good, but the younger two are two years older, and that helps. All in all, these C's are still in good shape.
1986 Celtics — Beat Rockets in six
What made them champs: The original Big Three. Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish were a dominating trio unlike anything the NBA had ever seen. Way too much for the Rockets, or anyone else, to handle.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Obviously, it's always nice to have a Big Three. Paul, Ray and KG may not quite be the original threesome, but they're all future Hall of Famers, and they know how it's done. Also, if you need a tough defensive point guard, Rajon Rondo can be your Dennis Johnson.
1984 Celtics — Beat Lakers in seven
What made them champs: Size. Before Bird became a perimeter machine, he was a beast inside in his early years — with Bird, McHale, Parish and Cedric Maxwell all giving the Celtics an interior presence, the Celtics were a nightmare to contain.
How 2010 Celtics compare: This year's guys have plenty of size as well. Between Perk, KG, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis, the Celtics have the bigs to compete with anyone. Maybe even the Lakers.
1981 Celtics — Beat Rockets in six
What made them champs: Youth. McHale was a rookie, and the other two Celtic stars were still in their early years, as well. This incarnation of the Celtics didn't have the experience, but they had the energy to run with the best of them.
How 2010 Celtics compare: These C's have no shortage of flashy youngsters. Between Rondo, Big Baby and Tony Allen, the youth movement is alive and well in Boston 29 years later.
1976 Celtics — Beat Suns in six
What made them champs: Toughness, heart, will to win, all that good stuff. This was the team that won the famous triple-overtime thriller at the Boston Garden in Game 5 — they knew how to stick it out to the bitter end. Not every team can say that.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Well, for what it's worth, this year's team was 3-1 in overtime games this season. But more than that, you just have to believe that an experienced group like this will have what it takes to handle whatever adversity comes its way.
1974 Celtics — Beat Bucks in seven
What made them champs: A breakout performance from Dave Cowens, who at 25 was the best big man in the series, answering the challenge of taking down a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
How 2010 Celtics compare: You want a breakout youngster? Try Rondo. He's the most talked-about player in the game so far in these playoffs, and he's ready to prove he can take the Celtics to the next level. If this is truly his team now, he'll have to prove it on the biggest stage.
1969 Celtics — Beat Lakers in seven
What made them champs: Russell went out on top. The greatest winner in the history of American sports, the Celtics' big man was a man on a mission in his final season. He achieved that mission — the 11th ring in his career with the Celtics.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Paul, Ray and KG aren't exactly retiring tomorrow. But the window is beginning to shut a little bit, and the urgency is definitely there for the Celtics to win now, while they still can.
1968 Celtics — Beat Lakers in six
What made them champs: For the first time, Russell won a title as the Celtics' player-coach. His first season in the dual role was a year earlier, but the Celtics lost the East finals in '67 to Wilt Chamberlain and the 76ers. In '68, it was redemption for Russell, and a 10th ring for the Celtics.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Kevin Garnett might not be a player-coach, officially at least, but he might as well be. Every team needs a vocal leader to carry their team through tough times, and these days, there's no doubt that KG is that guy. In the Finals, you need that kind of leadership.
1966 Celtics — Beat Lakers in seven
What made them champs: Red Auerbach. Just like Russell, the iconic Celtics coach found out a way to go on top, winning a title in his final season manning the sidelines in Boston. It was his ninth ring as a head coach, a figure surpassed only by Phil Jackson.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Besides that this year's Celtics are competing directly against Jackson's Lakers? Great coaching is the other parallel. And there's an outside chance that Doc Rivers, who's got a shot at his second title as the Celtics' head coach, may go out on top, as well. A retirement from Doc this summer isn't out of the question.
1965 Celtics — Beat Lakers in five
What made them champs: Late-game heroics. If the words "HAVLICEK STOLE THE BALL!" mean nothing to you, then you're not a true Celtics fan. Look it up — it's one of the great moments in Boston sports history.
How 2010 Celtics compare: These guys have plenty of star players ready to step up and make the hero play. Whether it's Ray the shooter, Pierce the scorer, Rondo the playmaker or KG the defensive beast, the C's have guys you can trust with the game on the line.
1964 Celtics — Beat San Francisco Warriors in five
What made them champs: Russell in his prime. The man pulled down 24.7 rebounds that year — that's not only a career high for him, but it's more than Perk, KG, Rasheed and Big Baby had this season. Combined.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Back then, Russell was the man; today, it's a team effort. You never know which Celtic will step up on any given night, and that's exactly how Doc likes it.
1963 Celtics — Beat Lakers in six
What made them champs: Yet another "going out on top" story — Cousy. The Celtics' 34-year-old point guard had one championship left in him, and he won it for the Celtics in '63. It was the sixth and final ring for Cooz.
How 2010 Celtics compare: If you want a legendary Celtics point guard, there's one in the making right now. Rondo may only be 24, but he's growing into one of the all-time greats before our very eyes. Enjoy it while you can.
1962 Celtics — Beat Lakers in seven
What made them champs: Tommy Heinsohn. Before he called games on TV and doled out "points" for hustle plays, Tommy was the leading scorer for the '62 champs. He paced the Celtics with 22.1 points per game and pulled down 9.5 rebounds to boot. Not too shabby.
How 2010 Celtics compare: What, you mean you like hulking big men who run their mouths off and complain constantly about officiating? Well, hello there, Kendrick Perkins. Also, they're both great rebounders and post defenders.
1961 Celtics — Beat St. Louis Hawks in five
What made them champs: Great role players. The Celtics had a great backup point guard in K.C. Jones, a solid all-around swingman in Sam Jones, and a sharp-shooting guard named Bill Sharman who gave the team a little extra scoring punch. It's not always about the Big Three.
How 2010 Celtics compare: The C's are always coming up with unsung heroes who step up when you least expect it. Whether it's Big Baby, or Tony Allen, or even Nate Robinson, this year's team has guys who can surprise you.
1960 Celtics — Beat Hawks in seven
What made them champs: One of the best Finals performances ever — the Hawks pushed the Celtics to a deciding seventh game, but Russell came up with 22 points and a jaw-dropping 35 rebounds to seal the championship in Game 7. Just an out-of-this-world game from the Celtics' legend.
How 2010 Celtics compare: If that 29-18-13 stat line he dropped on the Cavaliers in Game 4 is any indication, Rajon Rondo knows how to come up with a monster game in a pivotal playoff contest. So can Pierce, Allen or KG. Russellesque? Maybe not, but these C's have guys who can come close.
1959 Celtics — Beat Lakers in four
What made them champs: Starting the rivalry off on the right foot. The Celtics faced the Lakers in the first of 12 NBA Finals meetings back in 1959, and the C's took care of business for the first time. Back when "Beat L.A." was "Beat Minneapolis," the Celtics did so with a four-game sweep.
How 2010 Celtics compare: Nothing's changed — the Celtics are still the boss of this rivalry. The franchise is now 9-2 all-time in the Finals against the Lakers, and the same starting five from the '08 title team is still intact. They'll be looking to take care of business again.
1957 Celtics — Beat Hawks in seven
What made them champs: A 23-year-old Russell held his coming-out party in the '57 postseason, averaging 13.9 points and 24.4 rebounds per game as the C's did away with the Syracuse Nationals and then the Hawks. Little did anyone know at the time, they were witnessing the start of something great.
How 2010 Celtics compare: No rookies on this team. But Rondo, Perk, Baby, T.A. and Nate are all youngsters looking to leave their mark on Celtics history. Now, they'll get their chance.
So which team do the 2010 C's most resemble? A little of each, to tell the truth — there's the Big Three of the '86 team, there's the young stud from the '74 Celtics, there's the corps of role players that made '61 happen. This team has a little of everything.
But all in all, you're looking at a team that still looks a lot like the Celtics of two years ago.
Those guys knew how to "Beat L.A." These Celtics will try their hand at it, too.
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