The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which they share with the Boston Bruins of the NHL. The Celtics' 17 NBA Championships are the most for any NBA franchise.
From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics dominated the league winning eleven championships in thirteen years, and eight in a row (1959–1966), the longest consecutive streak of any North American professional sports team. The Celtics dominated the league during the late 1950s and through the mid-1980s, with the help of many Hall of Famers which include Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird and legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, combined for a 795–397 record that helped the Celtics win sixteen Championships. Before the retirement of the “Big Three”, who included Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, thanks to some creative maneuvering by Auerbach, the Celtics had drafted second overall pick Len Bias but the team fell into decline as the college star died two days after he was drafted. Later, the team suffered another tragedy when their star player Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack in his prime.
The franchise returned to prominence during the 2007–2008 season when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce as the new "Big Three," leading the team to its 17th championship in 2008 and an Eastern Conference title in 2010. During this time, point guard Rajon Rondo developed into a perennial all-star. The Celtics have met the Lakers a record twelve times in the N.B.A. Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, with the Celtics winning nine and Lakers winning three. Four Celtics (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the N.B.A. Most Valuable Player Award for an N.B.A. record total of ten M.V.P. awards. Their mascot 'Lucky the Leprechaun' is an ode to the team's Irish heritage, as well as an ode to the large Irish population in Boston.