NBA / Mar 17, 2010 / 11:00 am

My Top 10 Favorite Celtics Of The Past 25 Years

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the fall of my beloved franchise, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the better times. From the day I was born I’ve been a Celtics fan, and the past 25 years have brought a whole cast of characters through the green and white. But among all the All-Stars and Hall of Famers, here are the 10 that stick out in my mind.

1. Chauncey Billups – Even though he only made it 51 games, because of my last name, when Chauncey got drafted I was then known as Chauncey Phillips. Not a bad nickname if you ask me. I understand that trading him for veteran Kenny Anderson at the time made sense, but it’s not like Billups wasn’t producing. Before the Celtics traded him, he was averaging 11.1 points and 4.3 assists in only 25.4 per game. If only he’d stayed…

2. Joe Johnson – Another guy traded way too soon, Johnson was shipped out after only 48 games in Beantown. Did they not learn from their mistakes? Now Joe Jeezy is going to be one of the premier free agents this summer and another haunting ghost from Boston’s past.

3. Rajon Rondo – The only current Celtic that I have on this list, Rondo is the future of the franchise. If you don’t like his game, then you just don’t like basketball.

4. Dee Brown – Besides the dunk contest, No. 7 was a great guy to have on the team. People don’t often remember that he averaged over 15 points per game for two straight seasons, and could also drop dimes, grab boards and steal the ball.

5. Gerald Green – The true DimeMag.com readers know that this list wouldn’t be complete without G-Money. Sure he never turned into the next Tracy McGrady, but he and his 48-inch vertical had a nice run on SportsCenter.

6. Andrew DeClercq & Vitaly Potapenko – Sure DeClercq only played one full season for the Celtics, but he was a blue-collared guy that I could rally around. Always good for some rebounds and hard fouls, who wouldn’t want him on their team? Plus, one of the greatest things about DeClercq is that he was traded to Cleveland for Vitaly Potapenko straight up. Before there was Big Z, there was Big V. Potapenko played the best ball of his career in Boston, and tacked on another five years to his career because of it.

7. Walter McCarty – Just like Tommy Heinsohn, I love Waltah! In fact, there’s probably no one with more career Tommy Points than him. Read this amazing account from Heinsohn:

“Why I got involved with Walter, to begin with he was such a breath of fresh air. He just let it all hang out when he joined the Celtics. He brought a freshness and vitality to looking at the team. (Bob) Cousy, who is a purist, didn’t take to Walter right away, (because) he’s 6-(foot-)10 and a skinny guy, the whole bit. But Walter, up in Toronto, made a three to win the game, and we were doing the broadcast. Cousy says, ‘I think I’m getting to love Walter.’ I said: ‘It’s too late to join the Walter McCarty Fan Club right now. If you want to join, it’s 25 dollars. Everyone else can get in for free, but you have to pay 25 dollars.’ Well, all of a sudden, everyone starts e-mailing the station (and) asking how they can join the Walter McCarty Fan Club. So I get on the air a couple games down the road and say: ‘Cousy is the only one who has to pay. Everybody else, all you’ve got to do, after every game, is throw open your window and yell, ‘I Love Walter!’ ‘ A couple weeks go by and they start getting e-mails from mothers in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire (that say), ‘Will you please stop telling my kids to throw open the window and shout ‘I Love Walter?’ ‘ Kids were actually doing it. I go out and speak now the first thing I say is, ‘I Love Walter!’ Things have not always gone well for Walter here, but what I saw in Walter is this unbridled enthusiasm and energy. I compared him to the Energizer Bunny. It’s not that he attained any greatness as a player per se, but he had the stuff of all the great Celtics. The attitude.”

8. Rick Fox – Before Rick Fox was Rick Fox, he was the heart and soul of the Celtics. It’s kind of sad to think that most people just think of him today as a celebrity or an actor, but Fox got it all going on the court in Boston.

9. Leon Powe – The single reason why the Celtics won the NBA Championship in 2008 is Powe. Sure there was the Big Three plus Rondo and Perk, but Powe was an absolute monster. If only he hadn’t gotten hurt, he’d still be in a Celtics uniform today.

10. Dino Radja – During his long basketball career, it’s kind of crazy to think that Dino only played for one NBA team, but he definitely left his mark. When he joined the Celtics in 1993, he averaged 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in his first season and went on to average 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds during his three successful years with the franchise. He should have never left.

What do you think? Who would make your list?

Other St. Patrick’s Day Articles:
NBA St. Patrick’s Day Collection
The 10 Luckiest Players In The NBA

Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

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  • Patrick Cassidy

    AP – Not going to lie, I hate the Celtics but kind of loved Potapenko and Dino Radja. My Sixers actually traded for Radja at one point. I remember being fired up … until he failed his physical.

  • PWEEZY

    My faves go to Reggie Lewis and Dee Brown those players where sick at there prime…i remember watching nba inside stuff and the celtics used smaller rims to have a more accurate 3 shot at the time

    Weezy

  • RC

    Leon Powe for sure I like players who work hard and have a lot of heart.

    Paul Pierce didn’t give up on this team. And probably one of the top 5 all time Celtics

    Larry Bird?? no question

  • Coach T

    Yeah, I hate the Celtics too. That said, when Kenny Anderson played for them about 8 years ago, I cheered for them against everyone. When Kenny was traded, I became a hater again. Favorite all time Celtics for the last 25 years and beyond: 1. Kenny Anderson 2. Tiny Archibald

  • Ko_Peso

    No way you can have a favorite Celtics list without Reggie Lewis. In Bird’s final years, dude was all we had.

  • catdog656

    no antione shimmy?

  • Prof. TX

    Xavier “The X-Man” McDaniel

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    While I’ve watched all the tapes, I was really too young to appreciate Reggie Lewis. Obviously Bird, McHale, Chief, Pierce and ‘Toine played huge roles for my squad, but the guys above were the ones that made the biggest impact.

  • control

    “3. Rajon Rondo – The only current Celtic that I have on this list, Rondo is the future of the franchise. If you don’t like his game, then you just don’t like basketball”

    Rondo is the one of the top 5 worst shooters of basketball, is shooting not THE most important fundamental part of basketball? If you dislike that he is a horrible shooter, then you don’t like basketball? That is a purely insane statement.

    I’m not even going into his boneheadedness, arrogance, douche bag attitude and the fact he looks like a crackwhore either. There are so many reasons to hate on him it’s too fucking easy.

  • control

    “HERE COMES THE HATE TRAIN, W00000 WOOOOO W000000O0O0O00O! ALL ABOARD!”

  • Randomized

    Control dont be a hater. Rondilo is only in bottom 20 shooting in nba. He is quick enough he doesnt need to learn basics like shooting.

    If rondilo is the future of the boston I feel soory for their stretch of lotto years coming up. There are few pgs that can be the center piece of a sucessful team, 1 or 2 in nba right now. He will never be one of those.

  • http://www.innoutnba.com Lucas Shapiro

    Aron, your comment on Powe could not be more correct.

  • sh!tfaced

    Gerald Green, Rickey Green, Orien Green and Patrick O’Bryant
    -Hey, it’s St. Paddy’s day…

    And how can you not love the Celtics’ Human Victory Cigars:
    Brian Scalabrine, Scott Pollard, Yogi Stewart, Bruno Sundov, Stojko Vrankovic, Eric Montross, Zan Tabak…

    And, of course, Vin Baker – he must’ve loved playing on March 17… LOL

  • king

    CAnt believe you have Dino radja on this list… why not put eric montoss and pervis on there too

  • Ko_Peso

    Agreed, Lucas. Real talk, he’s exactly what we’re missing right now.

  • Kermit The Washington

    I think of Rick Fox as the SOLE REASON I was unable to root for the early 00s Lakers teams. He kept tryin’ to start with Pip in the playoffs and was actin’ like a PUNK. And don’t get me started on the Doug Christie incidents. I HATE RICK FOX!!

  • Derik

    Ron Mercer was one of my favorite, so was Dana Barros.

  • Celts Fan

    @AP – wow, Potapenko and Declerk? Vitaly especially is probably the only guy I’ve liked less than Scal. Well… him and Kedrick Brown.

  • Celts Fan

    My top 10 (since Bird retired)

    1. Paul Pierce – I still remember calling my Dad when we got him at #10 and telling him we’d remember this robbery years down the road. Had season tickets from the year before he even got the League. We’ve watched him grow, almost get shipped outta town, and mature into who he is now. He almost died and came back without missing the beginning of the season just 4 weeks later. Watching the tears streaming down his face as #17 was raised to the rafters just cemented it. He’s been everything you want in a pro athlete.

    2. KG – My favorite non-Celtic ever becomes the changing force that propels us to a title and caps it off by thanking, in order, his mother then “Peanut.” Absolutely out of his mind but you want to go to war with that guy. It’s a shame his knees started giving out just a year in, but what a year…

    3. Rondo – Does a little of everything (except shoot) and really exciting. He’s what I want from my PG. A good distributor, can penetrate, and is a good defender. Now just work on that jumper!

    4. Perk – Talks like an extra from Sling Blade and never ever smiles on the court but is actually a really good guy and active in the community. Gotta love those dirty work guys.

    5. Leon Powe – If we’d known Baby was gonna be an idiot and miss most of the first half, he’d still be a Celtic. The classic perseverance story. From his impoverished upbringing to going from sure-fire lottery pick to 2nd rounder thanks to a knee injury, to the way he plays like there’s no way you will ever out-hustle him. It’s impossible not to root for him.

    6. Antoine – the wiggle was amazing!

    7. Eddie House – I’d always liked him since ASU, but he was a treat on the team. Between his Always Ready approach to shooting to the dice-roll intro hi-5 w/ Pierce, he was fun to watch.

    8. Posey – Great dirty work guy. We would not have a title were it not for him.

    9. Gerald Green – I was SURE he was the next superstar to the point I remember bragging to my friends in school (in Philly) that we’d win a title behind the nucleus of Pierce, Gerald, Gomes, and Big Al. Ummm… not so much.

    10. Big Al – Awesome post game. A real treat to watch, but next time he makes a correct and quick rotation on D will be the first.

    Honorable mentions: Delonte, Sam Cassell (big balls dance!!!) and Ryan Gomes

  • srb

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….sherman douglas……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • Scoob

    Joe Johnson is Reggie Lewis incarnated. Same game. Smooth. Deadly pull up J.

    RIP

  • dvs

    imagine if the celtics had billips and jj now as their starting backcourt….

  • Roman

    What is this Happy Celtics Day- please- hate this team.

  • Nyeme

    How you miss all of Kentucky C’s?

    Employee #8, Ron Mercer, Walter McCarty, Tony Delk, Rick Pitino

  • hahns

    lol this is the most bizarre list of celtics players.

  • srb

    forgot Tony Battie

    that green mouthguard he wore was phat

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    MY TOP TEN CELTS

    Bill Russel
    Wow. He was nothing but wow-ness. Wow-ness in a waterdowned talent pool. But still.

    Larry
    He was and still is THAT BOL.

    Paul
    Ate that stabbing up and still throws up gang signs.
    And still looks like a regular guy with no muscle tone who happens to play NBA ball. And that mid range j from the elbow…BEAUTY. Eat that Benzino!

    TONY ALLEN
    Before the knee injury off the dunk, dude was a flat out baller, tough minded and gritty.

    DJ
    Boston’s own Maurice Cheeks…well, that’s how I looked at him. (me being from Philadelphia)

    BIG AL
    He’s a problem. Letting go of him was the only way to get KG.

    DELONTE
    Same. Letting go of him was the only way to get Ray.

    KG
    His trash talking is legend. His game is so smooth. His D is phenomenal. Yeah, he picks on inferior types but so what. I’m glad he made it to Boston and got the chip.

    Kevin McHale
    He was THAT BOL too.

    Rondo
    For the same reasons as Aron.
    And for having the swag that I want DRose to get so badly.
    Steph got it. Reke got it. Brandon acts like he got it but it’s suspect…Rondo was swag surfin’ wayyyyy prematurely. I like that.

    About Rondo:
    Rondo is rated 72 out 439 in NBA Field Goal percentage.

    He hits over 51 PERCENT.

    Just because he has trouble with the mid-range and the 3pt shot doesn’t mean he can’t shoot. He just doesn’t shoot them well. That’s why he sticks to his strengths instead. Drive n finish, drive n kick, dynamite on the break, and a nose for the open shooter. Plus his D and energy is off the charts.

    I swear it’s not even hate. I truly believe grown azz men on this site have NO PROBLEM hiding their JEALOUSY. And to pick on a man’s looks…wow, u guys are gaybirds.

  • sweetv0mit

    how about antoine walker?

  • @DreDre718

    so i guess paul pierce is chopped liver to the mag?

  • geoluhread

    Paul Pierce
    Atione Walker
    Eric Williams

    i only really followed the 01-03 celts. didn’t watch much of the 08 celts. every once in awhile i try to still have Walker be a big part of my 2K teams. <,<

  • Cha-Ching

    Fuc Boston! LA for life.

  • EN FUEGO

    Laker douchebags. GTFOH

  • Roman

    One and done chumps!!!

  • Jay Jay

    Is this list is for real? because when you say the past 25 years, Larry Bird should be in it. Hell even Pierce should be in it, He’s been around for the Celtics for too long. I watch Pierce grow in Boston, I actually remember during the 1998 NBA Draft, I was absolutely shocked when 9 teams have passed on him and luckily Boston picked him. But well, Billups and Johnson is a good choice but hey they haven’t been on the Celtics for too long (they wouldn’t be even part the Celtics Dynasty). and no offense but, for crying out load. Walter McCarthy?, no comment about that dude. but I’ll pick Walker over McCarthy.

  • John R. S.

    In no particular order, Dave Cowens (a rookie the year I moved to Boston), Paul Silas, Larry Bird, Delonte West, Cedric Maxwell, Paul Pierce and my favorite current Celtic, Rajon Rondo.

    How anyone could include Antoine Walker in his list of favorites I do not know. He’s on my list of LEAST favorite Celtics ever, largely because of his lousy shot selection. Also on that dubious list would be “Wally World” Sczerbiak, and Brian Scalabrine, both of them miserable rebounders, especially for their players of their heights.

    I don’t include players from before I moved to Boston on either list, BTW. No disrespect intended to Russell or Cousy, but I only know them by reputation, not from having watched them.