In almost every sport, there are certain teams in certain eras that stake their claim as a dynasty. The New England Patriots of the 2000s, the San Francisco 49ers of the 1990’s and the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s all are popular choices for some of the best dynasties in sports. However, the biggest dynasty by a long shot is one that doesn’t get a ton of attention, and that is the dynasty of the Boston Celtics in the 1960’s.
The Celtics Dynasty began in the year 1957 and went on for over a decade until 1969. Their regular season winning percentage during that time was over 70, and their performances in the playoffs were even more impressive. In those 13 years of the dynasty, the Celtics made 12 Finals appearances and won 11 titles! If this isn’t crazy enough, they actually won eight straight championships from 1959 to 1966. This is by far the biggest streak in any of the major sports. On top of their dominance in that regard, the Celtics and their ownership was the first team to embrace black players. Also. Red Auerbach was the one who invented the fast break and the idea of the sixth man.
So how did they team perform such an amazing and unheard of feat, well let me enlighten you. The Celtics officially became an NBA team in 1946, but didn’t really do much over the next decade, but that all changed ahead of the 1957 NBA season. In the 1956 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics made the choice to trade for 3rd overall pick, Bill Russell. While their head coach Red Auerbach and owner Walter Brown were important in the dynasty, no one was more important than Bill Russel. Right from his rookie year, Russell had an immediate impact on the team.
While Russell was not an incredible scorer, he more than made up for it with his basketball IQ, incredible defense and leadership qualities. He will go down as probably the best defender in NBA history as he could defend the post, rebound the ball with the best of them and even play man defense on guys much smaller than him. He averaged nearly 25 rebounds a game for his career and almost 5 assists, which is a ton for a center during his time. But perhaps the best part of Russell was his leadership and drive to be the best. He would regularly inspire his team to play incredible, which definitely helped them win 11 titles in 13 years.
Bill Russell is an easy choice for one of the top 5 NBA players of all time, but this dynasty likely wouldn’t have happened without a talented group of players to complement Russell such as Bob Cousy, Jon Havlicek and Sam Jones. No team or dynasty in sports history will likely ever do what the Celtics did and you could argue there will be no better leader in the future of the NBA than Bill Russell was.