Regular season record (winning percentage): 716-299 (.705)
Finals appearances: 12
Notable players: Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, John Havlicek
Coaches: Red Auerbach, Bill Russell
Once George Mikan retired and took the Lakers dynasty with him, Boston emerged as the NBA's second juggernaut when they drafted Bill Russell in 1957. With the help of the progressive minds of owner Walter Brown and head coach Red Auerbach along with the big man out of San Francisco University, the Celtics changed the game in many ways. Brown was the first owner to embrace black ball players, Red invented the fast break and the sixth man position, and more importantly, Auerbach was smart enough to make a draft day trade for Russell with the St. Louis Hawks. Russell was a natural born leader, and hands down remains the greatest defensive player in NBA history.
What he lacked in size he had in brains and jumping ability. He also had the luxury of having guys like Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, and Tommy Heinsohn on his team. Russell turned blocked shots into outlet passes, a skill lost on today's players who prefer swatting everything into the fifth row. The Celtics made 10 consecutive Finals appearances after drafting Russell and won 11 out of the 13 years he was there, including eight straight from 1959 through 1966.