No conversation about the iconic Boston sports scene is complete without a hefty mention of the Boston Celtics. An American professional basketball team based in Boston, the Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. There’s no question that the Celtics are one of the most successful teams in NBA history. In fact, the Celtics stand proudly today as one of two teams owning 17 NBA Championships. Those 17 wins place them in rarified air that is shared only with the Los Angeles Lakers. If you’re a lifelong Celtics fan, you’re long overdue for a Celtics dream vacation. Major League Vacations is your gateway to NBA vacations designed for sports lovers.
Celtics history is undeniably linked with NBA history. Founded in 1946 as one of the original eight teams in the league, the Celtics hold a record for the most recorded wins of any NBA team in history. Following its founding in 1946 by Walter A. Brown, the team joined the NBA in 1949. Celtics fans of today may find it hard to believe that the team struggled in the early days. It wasn’t until Red Auerbach came on as coach that the team’s profile began to rise. Those early days were marked by the talents of Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, and Tom Heinsohn. According to legend, Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach was opposed to white sneakers because he claimed that white sneakers can easily get dirty. This is why the Celtics have a long tradition of wearing black sneakers.
The Celtics notably made it to the 1957 NBA Finals with help from Bill Russell. Russel actually went on to win a total of 11 championships in his career. In fact, his winning streak still makes him the most decorated player in NBA history to this day! The Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals again in 1958 before ultimately being sent home following a defeat against the Hawks. Little did the team know that the acquisition of K.C. Jones that same year would usher the Celtics into a dynasty period that would last for a decade. The following year, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after an incredible sweep against the Minneapolis Lakers.
It was after the 1958 season that the intense rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers began. The season also marked a start of history-making moves for the Celtics. In 1964, the team became the first in the NBA to have a starting lineup consisting exclusively of African-American players. Fans will remember the era from the 1950s through the 1960s as being a time of extreme dominance for the Celtics. In fact, the team’s dominance during this period is seen as being unmatched to this day. It was during this period that the team’s run of eight consecutive championships put them in position for the longest championship streak in the history of any U.S. professional sport.
The 1970 season marked the first losing season since the 1949-1950 season. The decade is now viewed as a rebuilding period for the Celtics. Following a loss in the finals in 1972, the team had an excellent season in 1973 that ultimately saw them lose to the New York Knicks in the Conference Finals. A bright spot came when the Celtics defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games to take another championship win in 1976.
For Celtics fans, the period between 1979 and 1992 is defined by the performance of Larry Bird. While the team was able to put up a strong performance during Bird’s debut 1979-1980 season, they ultimately lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Larry Bird period was peppered with some big wins that included a takeover of the 1981 NBA Championship against the Houston Rockets.
Following Bird’s exit in 1992, the period from 1993 to 1998 became yet another rebuilding period for the Celtics. The 1996-1997 season has the unfortunate distinction of seeing the Celtics lose a record-breaking 67 games. During the 2001-2002 season, the Celtics defeated the Detroit Pistons to finally return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1988.
Fans know that the Celtics have experienced ups and downs since the Bird years. The era is marked by many “almost comebacks.” The 2010-2011 season saw the Celtics reach three incredible landmarks. First, the Celtics become the second team in NBA history to reach 3,000 victories. This was also the season that saw Paul Pierce join Larry Bird and John Havlicek to become the third Celtic in history to score 20,000 points. Finally, the 2010-2011 season saw Ray Allen break the NBA’s record for the most career three-pointers.
The Recent Years
The Celtics notably finished the 2018–2019 season with a 49–33 record. The team then completed an eight-game winning streak that delivered wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks, and the Chicago Bulls. In fact, the 56-point win against the Bulls set the record for the largest margin in a victory in franchise history. In the 2019 playoffs, the Celtics effortlessly swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round before being defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics were one of 22 teams invited to play in the “NBA Bubble” following the suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season due to COVID-19.
The Boston Celtics famously play at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. A replacement of the original Boston Garden, this multipurpose arena is home to both the Celtics and the Bruins. In addition to housing a 19,600-seat arena, TD Garden also offers restaurants, entertainment, executive suites, and a high-definition video scoreboard.
TD Garden’s position directly above the MBTA’s North Station makes it a dream for fans coming in from all over New England to see games in person. It’s estimated that up to 3.5 million people visit TD Garden annually. In addition to being a sports haven, TD Garden also hosts music concerts, WWE wrestling events, comedy events, and live performances throughout the year. The TD Garden complex also houses The Sports Museum of New England.
The Celtics legacy includes some of the NBA’s most influential players of all time. The celebrity roster of players includes Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Paul Pierce, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, and Shaquille O’Neal. The team’s current lineup includes Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Danilo Gallinari, and Blake Griffin.
Celtics fans show off a degree of loyalty that is rare for any professional sports franchise. While being a fan wasn’t always easy during the lackluster period extending from the 1990s through the 2006 season, Celtics fans never turned their backs on the team. There’s no doubt that fans are able to stay optimistic with help from Lucky the Leprechaun. A part of the Celtics team legacy since 1950, Lucky was inspired by the strong Irish heritage of Boston. In fact, Celtics fandom is tightly linked with the sense of Irish pride that permeates the souls of Bostonians from all backgrounds.
Looking to the Future
Fans have every reason to be optimistic about the direction of the Celtics. In June of 2021, Brad Stevens was named the team’s president. Stevens wasted no time trading Kemba Walker for Alford Horford and Moses Brown. In April of 2022, fans found out that the Celtics were qualifying for the NBA playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference. While the Celtics ultimately lost to the Golden State Warriors, stronger performances against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in the conference finals showed that this is a team on the rise.
How was a clover chosen as the logo for the Boston Celtics?
The clover’s association with the Celtics goes back to Walter Brown. A true New England intellectual, Brown wished to incorporate authentic Celtic culture into the team’s culture. The clover in the Boston Celtics logo is a symbol of luck.
How did the Boston Celtics get their name (Celtics)?
Walter Brown chose the name for the Celtics as a way to acknowledge the strong Irish roots of Boston. The list of alternative names proposed for the team included the Whirlwinds, Unicorns, and Olympians. Brown vetoed all of them in favor of an Irish-inspired name. Boston welcomed millions of Irish immigrants during the period from 1820 and 1930. In fact, 23% of Boston residents claim Irish heritage today!
Celtics Fans Shouldn’t Wait to See the Team Play
Luck is always on the side of Boston Celtics fans. This is Boston’s team. However, fans from all over the country love the way Irish pride mixes with raw Boston culture to create one of the toughest teams in the NBA. Have you always dreamed of watching the Celtics play at TD Garden in person? Major League Vacations is your source for Boston Celtics sports vacations. We offer exclusive tickets and experiences for both home and away games in the Boston Celtics schedule. Don’t miss a major comeback season! Book your Boston Celtics vacation package with help from the sports-cation experts.