Ray Bourque giving number 7 to Phil Esposito squares off against the Celtics’ first NBA championship in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
6. Ray Bourque gives No. 7 to Phil EspositoCall this moment the ultimate sign of respect. The Boston Bruins planned to retire two-time Stanley Cup champion and Hall of Famer Phil Esposito’s number on Dec. 3, 1987. The only problem? His No. 7 was being worn by the B’s captain at the time, Ray Bourque. Bourque, already a six-time All-Star himself, came up with a solution. During the pregame ceremony for Esposito at the Boston Garden, Bourque removed his own No. 7 jersey for the last time, proudly displaying his new No. 77 as the Garden crowd erupted into a long, loud ovation. Esposito thanked the young Bruins captain before watching his No. 7 jersey rise to the rafters. Bourque, meanwhile, held on to No. 77 for the final 12 years of his career in both Boston and Colorado.
11. Celtics win first NBA championshipIf you go by number of championships, the Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise in the history of the NBA. But their first championship, won all the way back in 1957, is likely their most memorable and impressive title. In a game that featured NBA legends Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, as well as Red Auerbach behind the bench, the Celtics outlasted the St. Louis Hawks 125-123 in Game 7 to raise their first of 17 championship banners. The game went to two overtimes and is widely considered to be one of the best basketball games played in league history. That 1957 title sparked a dynasty in Boston, as the Celtics went on to win 11 championships over the next 13 seasons, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966.
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