John Buccigross: Who's Your Celtics Top 5?


John Buccigross


Today’s SportsCenter poll question asks “Who is the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time?” Vote now. I voted for Magic.

After we got done discussing and debating that question—like should Shaquille O’Neal (3 rings with Lakers) be on there --our segment producer David Rose asked me, “Who is your Boston Celtic Top 5?”


So, here it is:

1) Bill Russell- 11 rings. Russell would throw up before most games. Russell’s insatiable desire to win and his defense set the tone for the organization that even reached Kevin Garnett two years ago. And he was a cultural icon at the same time. Wow.
2) Larry Bird- The most complete player in Celtic history. He scored, he rebounded, he hit free throws, he passed. My all-time favorite athlete. I watched his every movement in every game I saw. I didn’t watch any other player on the court. Even when he sat on the bench.
3) John Havlicek- Bird and Havlicek are very close. They are both high effort, Midwest, clutch performers. I think Bird was just a little bit better at everything.
4) Kevin McHale- McHale is one of the most underrated athletes of his time. His acumen of the low post game was one of the best of all-time. He had great length, great feet, and when he was young and springy, he was unstoppable. Also, he was a good defender because he had long arms and played with a high effort.
5) Bob Cousy- He is unquestionably one of the most important Celtics of all time. Like Roger Staubach gave the Cowboys an identity, and Peyton Manning the Indy Colts, and Tom Brady the Patriots, and Franco Harris the Steelers, and Bob Clarke the Philadelphia Flyers, and so on, Cousy was that human trademark for the Celtics.

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SportsCenter Segment Producer David Rose's top 5:

For the record, here are my top 5 Celtics. Here’s a hint – there’s no disagreement on the 5 from Bucci's, but the order has changed.

1) Bill Russell – 11 NBA titles, enough said
2) Larry Bird – 3 NBA titles, 24.3 PPG during his career and probably could have scored more.
3) Bob Cousy – 13-time all-star. To me, Cousy and Russell go hand-and-hand at the beginning of the Celtics run of dominance in the 1950s and 1960s.
4) John Havlicek – Always big for Boston in the clutch. Being the all-time scoring leader for the Celtics (26,395 points) has to count for something
5) Kevin McHale – In my opinion, the most underrated player I have ever seen play in the NBA. In his prime, had an unstoppable low-post game.

Note: I can’t put Paul Pierce on this list. He is a great player and a great Celtic, but not in the top 5 all time.