Celtics Retired Jerseys: Every Boston Great Whose Number Hangs In Rafters

The Celtics don't just hang championship banners

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January 11

The Boston Celtics are arguably the most iconic franchise not just in the NBA, but in sports.

After the Celtics were founded in 1946, the team built a tradition off one thing: winning. Not just once but consistently. And with 17 NBA titles to their name, the Celtics have done just that for the better part of their run.

Now sitting tied with the Los Angeles Lakers — who were originally founded in Minneapolis — Boston shares the No. 1 spot for most Larry O’Brien Championships in it’s trophy case.

However, reaching that historic feat didn’t come overnight. The most integral part of architecting a dynasty is the players. And with 41 members in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who either played or coached for the Celtics (an NBA record), Boston had plenty of assistance along the way. And to recognize those individuals throughout the years, the Celtics have bestowed the honor of retiring 24 numbers. That mark is the most of any professional sports team in North America.

With that being said, here are all former members of the Celtics whose number (plus one name) resides among the championship banners, in the TD Garden rafters:

00 (Robert Parish, 1980-1994)
Jersey retirement date: Jan. 18, 1998

Parish was a major centerpiece (no pun intended) of Boston’s “Big Three” in the 1980s alongside Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. He played 14 of his NBA-record-setting 21 seasons in Boston and notched three NBA titles along with nine All-Star appearances in a Celtics uniform. Parish finished off his Celtics tenure as the franchise leader in games played (1,106) and rebounds (11,501).

Career stats with the Celtics: 16.5 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 blocks

1 (Walter Brown, 1946-1964)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 17, 1964

Brown wasn’t honored as a player, but instead as the founder and first team owner in Celtics history.

A Boston native, Brown helped deliver Boston a basketball team when the BAA underwent a merger to become the National Basketball Association in 1949. And with the Celtics, Brown took part in seven championship teams as he also played a contributing role in creating the NBA All-Star Game.

In the 1950s, Brown served as president of the Boston Bruins, which he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for in 1962.

2 (Red Auerbach, 1950-2006)
Jersey retirement date: Jan. 4, 1985

Like Brown, Auerbach also never suited up to take the floor for the Celtics.

Instead, Auerbach became the franchise’s most successful and iconic head coach. Through his 16-year run as head coach, Auerbach led the Celtics to nine NBA titles which featured an NBA record of eight consecutive (1958-1966). As expected, Auerbach finished as the Celtics leader in wins for a head coach with 795. He also drafted the first black player, Chuck Cooper, in NBA history before naming Bill Russell the league’s first-ever black head coach.

3 (Dennis Johnson, 1983-1990)
Jersey retirement date: Dec. 13, 1991

After Johnson already established himself with two strong runs with the Seattle Supersonics and Phoenix Suns, he joined the Celtics via trade at 29 years old. And from then on, the defensive-minded guard would pay huge dividends for Boston.

While his scoring production dropped upon his arrival, Johnson proceeded to come through on the defensive end when the lights shined their brightest. In Game 4 of the 1985 NBA Finals, Johnson nailed a game-winner at the buzzer against the Lakers.

Career stats with the Celtics: 12.6 points, 6.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds

5 (Kevin Garnett, 2007-2013)
Jersey retirement date: March 13, 2022

Easily the greatest trade acquisition (tied with Ray Allen) under the Danny Ainge front office era.

Garnett had already kicked off his NBA career on track to the Hall of Fame. However, he was missing one thing: an NBA Finals ring. And with the Celtics, he delivered. As Garnett took the floor alongside Allen and Paul Pierce, the All-Star trio formed Boston’s “Big Three” and reached the promised land in 2008.

“The Big Ticket” made five All-Star appearances during his Celtics tenure and played a huge role in their follow-up run to the NBA Finals in 2010.

Career stats with the Celtics: 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists

6 (Bill Russell, 1956-1969)
Jersey retirement date: March 12, 1972

Russell is easily the most iconic and important player to ever wear a Celtics uniform — and for a number of reasons.

Whether it was what he accomplished as a player, a head coach, or more importantly, as a civil rights activist, Russell always delivered. He played through an incredibly tough period of time from a social standpoint in America.

Nevertheless, Russell battled and assembled a list of on-court accomplishments. He won five NBA MVP Awards along with 11 NBA championships through a 13-year run with two as a head coach. Russell also finished just second in rebounds (21,620) behind Wilt Chamberlain for the NBA record.

Following his death in 2022, Russell became the first player to have his jersey number retired leaguewide.

Career stats with the Celtics: 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists

10 (Jo Jo White, 1969-1979)
Jersey retirement date: April 9, 1982

White spent a decade of his 12-year career with the Celtics after being drafted in 1969. With Boston, he won two NBA titles and notched seven All-Star appearances. In 1976, White averaged over 18 points en route to an NBA Finals MVP award.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds

14 (Bob Cousy, 1950-1963)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 26, 1963

Better known as “The Houdini of the Hardwood,” Cousy blossomed into a local hero. He’d spent his collegiate career at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and became the first player (alongside Ed Macauley) to have his number retired by the Celtics.

Cousy notched 13 All-Star appearances in 13 seasons with the Celtics along with six NBA championships and a league MVP (1957). He also led the league in assists on eight occasions which positioned him to a franchise record (6,945) when it was all set and done.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds

15 (Tom Heinsohn, 1956-1965)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 15, 1966

Heinsohn, like Cousy, also grew up locally. He also spent his collegiate playing days at Holy Cross and shared a jersey retirement ceremony with Bill Sharman. In each but his debut season with Boston, Heinsohn added an NBA championship to his resume. He totaled six All-Star appearances. Then following his playing days, Heinsohn added two more titles as a head coach.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, two assists

16 (Tom “Satch” Sanders, 1960-1973)
Jersey retirement date: Jan. 20, 1973

Sanders spent the entirety of his playing career with the Celtics. On four occasions, Sanders played in every scheduled game that season and played in 450 consecutive games. With Boston, Sanders won eight NBA titles and was best known for his defensive intensity which earned him back-to-back NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors from 1968-1969.

Career stats with the Celtics: 9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists

17 (John Havlicek, 1962-1978)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 13, 1978

“Hondo” was the longest-serving Celtics player (1,270 games) through his 16-year run with the organization. Havlicek won eight NBA championships with the Celtics and notched 13 All-Star appearances. For the better part of his playing career (1962-1978), Havlicek also led the charge as the team’s leading scorer.

The iconic two-way sharpshooter finished as the franchise leader in points (26,395), minutes (46,471) and field goals made (10,513).

Career stats with the Celtics: 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists

18 (Dave Cowens, 1970-1980)
Jersey retirement date: Feb. 8, 1981

“Big Red” notched All-Star appearances in all but two seasons with the Celtics. He won two NBA championships with Boston and is well-known for helping rejuvenate the Celtics following the retirement of Russell. He led Boston’s frontcourt in rebounds on six occasions.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.2 points, 14 rebounds, 3.9 assists

19 (Don Nelson, 1965-1976)
Jersey retirement date: Dec. 15, 1976

Like others, Nelson didn’t originally begin his career with the Celtics. Yet, he did leave the team’s rival Lakers to join Boston for 11 consecutive seasons. Through that time, Nelson won five NBA championships and finished among the franchise’s top 10 in games played (872).

Nelson followed his playing career with 31 years as an NBA head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. In 2012, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a head coach.

Career stats with the Celtics: 11.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists

21 (Bill Sharman, 1950-1961)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 15, 1966

Sharman played in Boston for each except his debut season. He won four NBA championships with the Celtics and made eight All-Star teams. On seven occasions, Sharman led the league in free-throw percentage — a strong suit he carried on throughout the playoffs. In fact, Sharman set a franchise record after he shot 91.1% from the charity stripe during his playoff career with the Celtics.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, three assists

22 (Ed Macauley, 1950-1956)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 26, 1963

Macauley made six All-Star appearances, one for each year he spent with the Celtics. In 1951, he became the league’s first All-Star Game MVP in the inaugural contest, played at Boston Garden.

Unlike everyone else (besides Reggie Lewis), Macauley never won an NBA title with Boston. Instead, he endured the losing end of an NBA Finals with the St. Louis Hawks, against the Celtics — the franchise’s first NBA championship.

Career stats with the Celtics: 18.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists

23 (Frank Ramsey, 1954-1964)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 16, 1965

Ramsey blossomed into the quintessential sixth man — regarded as the first of his kind — as he spent the entirety of his NBA career with the Celtics. He played for seven NBA championship-winning teams in Boston and served as a reliable scoring option for Boston, especially on the biggest stage.

Career stats with the Celtics: 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists

24 (Sam Jones, 1957-1969)
Jersey retirement date: March 9, 1969

Jones wrapped his NBA career, which was entirely spent in Boston, with a ring for every finger. He also made five All-Star teams and led the Celtics in scoring on four occasions. Jones also was best known for his clutch playmaking ability when the stakes were at their highest.

Career stats with the Celtics: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists

25 (K.C. Jones, 1959-1967)
Jersey retirement date: Oct. 23, 1968

K.C. Jones was Boston’s floor general for it’s eight consecutive titles run. Needless to say, he racked up a hefty amount of assists in the process (2,908) which placed him among the franchise’s top 10. When his playing career ran it’s course, Jones served as head coach for two NBA Finals-winning Celtics teams and finished with 308 total wins.

Career stats with the Celtics: 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists

31 (Cedric Maxwell, 1978-1967)
Jersey retirement date: Dec. 15, 2003

Maxwell played the first eight seasons of his 12-year NBA career in Boston. He provided the Celtics with a valuable combination of offensive rim protection along with team-leading efficiency from field goal range. Twice Maxwell led the NBA in field goal percentage and finished his career with two NBA titles — plus an NBA Finals MVP (1981) — to his name.

Career stats with the Celtics: 13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists

32 (Kevin McHale, 1980-1993)
Jersey retirement date: Jan. 30, 1994

McHale became one of the original “Big Three” members in Boston. To say he was a franchise staple would be an understatement. McHale delivered a dominant presence on both ends of the floor and became the league’s first-ever back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year award winner. He finished his career with seven All-Star appearances, six All-Defensive team honors and three NBA championships.

Career stats with the Celtics: 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks

33 (Larry Bird, 1979-1992)
Jersey retirement date: Feb. 4, 1993

If there was ever a Mount Rushmore of all-time Celtics, Bird would be in the mix. He’s recognized as an icon for the sport itself. Through his illustrious career in Boston, Bird became “Larry Legend” and served as the leader in the original Celtics “Big Three” era.

Bird made 12 All-Star teams throughout his 13-year career along with three NBA championships. He also won three straight NBA MVP awards and served as the Celtics’ leading scorer on 10 occasions.

Career stats with the Celtics: 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists

34 (Paul Pierce, 1998-2013)
Jersey retirement date: Feb. 18, 2018

When the Celtics hit a massive NBA title drought following the Bird era, Pierce emerged as the savior Boston needed in order to return to the promised land. While Pierce required a “Big Three” of his own, make no mistake about it, he was “The Truth.”

After a repulsive 24-58 campaign in 2006-2007, Pierce’s patience was rewarded, courtesy of the arrivals of Garnett and Allen. The 10-time All-Star led the Celtics to Banner 17 in 2008 and walked off the floor as MVP of the series.

Career stats with the Celtics: 21.8 points, six rebounds, 3.9 assists

35 (Reggie Lewis, 1987-1993)
Jersey retirement date: March 22, 1995

Lewis joined the Celtics after being drafted out of Northeastern University in Boston where he finished as the all-time leading scorer. His NBA career ended in tragic fashion when at age 27, Lewis underwent cardiac arrest during an offseason practice and died later that day.

Lewis spent six seasons with the Celtics and made one All-Star team.

Back in 2016, when the Celtics were recruiting Kevin Durant in free agency, Lewis’ mother, Inez Ritch, extended a gracious offer. She approved of the Celtics offering Durant the No. 35 during their recruitment pitch.

“I don’t think it would take anything away from Reggie because his number is still hanging up in the Garden,” Ritch said, according to Boston.com. “If I see Durant running up and down the court with No. 35, I don’t know how my emotions would be until it happens.”

Career stats with the Celtics: 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists

LOSCY (Jim Loscutoff, 1955-1964)
Jersey retirement date: April 8, 1977

Loscutoff played for the Celtics for the entirety of his nine-year NBA career. As opposed to everyone else on the list, Loscutoff — according to the Celtics — requested the team retired his name and not his jersey number (18) so that others could wear it. He also partook in seven NBA championship teams.

Career stats with the Celtics: 6.2 points, 5.6 rebounds

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