Sorry Sir Charles, The Truth is Top Ten | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
Red's Army

Sorry Sir Charles, The Truth is Top Ten

By Matty G.

Did anyone else catch Charles Barkley saying Paul Pierce isn’t in the Top 10 Celtics of all time during last night's All Star festivities?

Granted Sir Charles has a knack for saying things absurd, bombastic and just plain incoherent. And the Celtics have 21 retired numbers (plus a nickname) hanging up in the rafters. Paul’s will be swaying in the Garden wind eventually. He’s been in Celtic green for 12 seasons. Through the good times and bad. The dark age and a banner year. A rebuilding and a re-imaging.  So sorry Charles, but I respectfully disagree with you on this one.

No you cannot count the great Celtics on just one hand. Or even two hands for that matter. You probably even need to imply a foot or two to get them all in. But the Truth deserves his place on those extremities. For all you righties, it should come somewhere on your left hand. Most likely by the ring finger or pinky.

Pierce has carried this team through it all. From an amazing Eastern Conference championship comeback way back in 2002 (ok so maybe it was just one game against New Jersey, but still. At the time, it was a huge accomplishment for Celtics basketball) to an MVP performance in the 2008 NBA Finals. He could have ducked town and become second fiddle for another potential contender, but Pierce stayed in Boston. IF (notice the CAPS) he finishes his career in green, Pierce should go down as an all-time Celtic. How rare is it to see a star spend his entire career in a single uniform. Yes, Danny Ainge could have traded him and blown up the team. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to improve around him. That has to say something, right?

Let me go all “I” on you for a second (or as I call it, the Bill Simmons syndrome) and list my top 10 Celtics. Keep in mind I was born in 1983, and my first exposure to Celtics basketball was Reggie Lewis followed by Rick Pitino (please take a moment to shutter and/or vomit). In no particular order…. 

Red Auerbach

No real explanation needed. He never donned a uniform, but the man was one of the founding fathers of the NBA. He made the Celtics and created the mystique of wearing green. If you ever encounter a “Celtics fan” who doesn’t know what Red means, punch them in the face. When they get up, hit them again, only harder.

Bill Russell

Again, is there any explanation needed? Defense, team ball, and most importantly winning. 11 championships in 13 years. 11 CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 13 YEARS.

Bob Cousy

The local yokel. Magician of the hardwood. Combined with Red and Russell, he created NBA basketball. If I have to go on, punch yourself in the face.

Sam Jones

Mr. Clutch. Russell played the D, Cousy made the passes. So who took the shots? Sam Jones, that’s who. He has a ring for every finger. Perhaps the best part is he was originally drafted by the Lakers. Back when they were in Minnesota. Thank you very much.

John Havlicek

Sixth Man to Super Star. He represented what Celtics basketball was all about. As a rookie, he came off the bench to help an aging Celtics team to continue their winning ways. Then he took the team over. Oh yeah, I think he stole a ball once.

Dave Cowens

How do you replace Bill Russell. Well, you really don’t, but Cowens was the next best thing. Undersized and underappreciated, he led the Celtics to a pair of championships in the 70s. In today’s day in age, he played (figurative speaking) balls out Until he took a year off to get his “head straight” but after 2 banners, lets not hold that against him.

Larry Bird

The Man. The Legend. Represented what 80’s basketball was all about. He reinvented the game (along with Magic Johnson) and rejuvenated a fan base. Won three championships for the Celtics, and reestablished the greatest rivalry in sports (along with Magic, notice a connection?). Bird was the complete player, and Red knew it. He drafted him a year before he came out of college, willing to take a risk that he wouldn’t sign and re-enter the draft. The move payed off (like 95% of Auerbach’s moves) and now we all have stories to tell our kids. As well as awesome McDonald’s commercials.

Robert Parrish

The Chief. Named after the strong, silent giant in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (courtesy of Cedric Maxwell, who else?) he joined Bird and Kevin McHale to make up the original Big Three. Won three NBA titles with the Celtics (and a fourth with the Bulls, but we won’t hold that against him) and had possible one of the greatest rainbow shots of them all. Not to mention, you have to give props to anyone that wore the #00. (As a side note, when I first started working at WBZ, Parrish was one of the first athletes I got to meet in studio. Possibly the tallest person I’ve ever come in contact with, but at 5’6” that doesn’t mean anything)

Kevin McHale

Was the rest of the equation of the Big Three. He came off the bench to start, and then settled into the starting rotation giving the Celtics arguably the greatest backcourt ever. Won 3 Championships with Boston, and took down Kurt Rambis in the 83-84 finals. Lets not forget he traded Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Yes he got Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and amazing talent such as Sebastian Telfair and Gerald Green (just make your own joke here) in return, but so far the C’s have got the best of that one.

And that leaves the Truth, Paul Pierce. The longest tenured Celtic on the team, he is third on the all time leading scorers list. After winning a championship, Pierce has claimed his spot as the all time greats. He’s led rag-tag teams that have been torn apart (thanks Pitino), had players such as Vin Baker, Bimbo Coles and Raef LaFrentz, and put a banner in the rafters. Let’s give the man some respect. That includes you Sir Charles. No matter how many $5 taco bell boxes you sell.

*please don’t see any disrespect to players such as Tommy Heinsohn, KC Jones, and the late great Dennis Johnson. They have always been, and always will be great players. And even Charles Barkley for that matter. Although obnoxious and appalling at times, he can still be entertaining.

Like this Article? Share it!

  • I bleed green in L.A.

    I say number 7 all-time. Red, Russell, Larry, Cousy, Havlicek, Heinsohn, Pierce, Sam Jones, McHale, and DJ. (then the Cheif, KC Jones and Reggie Lewis)

  • nick

    what about Reggie Lewis???? Are u fucking joking? At the time of his death he was the 2nd best 2 guard in the NBA besides Jordan. Ya he was better then Reggie Miller Mitch Richmond or neone else who played the 2! For you to make this list and not include Reggie Lewis is just plain wrong. He was one of the greatest Celtics of all-time and he’ll live on 4ever to all true Celtics fans. If Lewis had lived we would have 20 banners right now. C’MON DUDE

  • gustusias

    well auerbach was a coach and i think we are speaking about basketball players here. russell, bird, hondo, cowens, mchale, parish, sam jones are seven. here it becomes tougher. paul silas, bailey howell were great contributers. tiny archibald and dennis johnson as well. heinsohn was a fantastic player but having seen pierce and tommy i would go with pierce. maxwell was a wonderful player as well as jojo white and charlie scott. after those seven though i would personally go with pierce, heinsohn, and dennis johnson.

  • gustusias

    i didn’t include reggie lewis in my top ten and he was good enough to be included. i just went with heinsohn maybe because i am 63 and sentimental to him. however i gotta say somwething here about kc jones, whom i also watched play an entire career and not just a few games. i would average about 25 home games a year in those days. i am a huge fan. kc jones would have difficulty making most nba teams if he played now. he was the worst shooter i ever saw play the game of basketball, absolutwly putrid. once in his entire career he broke 20 points. he made it on defense alone. he was not even a very good distributor or ballhandler, just fair.he would not make my top ten or top fifty even.

  • I loved Reggie, but you are completely overrating him.
    He could not shoot the 3. Check out his stats – horrible from long range.

  • We all loved reggie lewis, but he’s not a top 10 celtic of all time. could’ve potentially been, but died too young…Never won a championship, and had career numbers with us of 17/4/2…and no theres no guarantees he would’ve brought us titles..
    And why is someone including Auerbach in the top 10 celtics PLAYERS ever? duhhh

  • Russell
    Sam Jones
    Dave Cowens
    Kevin McHale
    Dennis Johnson

  • I bleed green in L.A.

    What? No KG?

  • nick

    1.Bill Russell
    2.Paul Pierce
    3.Larry Bird
    4.Kevin McHale
    5.Sam Jones
    6.Reggie Lewis
    7.John Havlicek
    8.Tommy Heinsohn
    9. Dave Cowens
    10. Bob Cousy
    11. JoJo White
    12. Robert Parish

  • If he had played his entire career, undoubtedly….but all-time he will always be a timberwolf

  • Pierce ahead of Bird? I love the Truth but come on…

  • PaulPierceWannaBeGangsta

    Hail Sir Charles!

  • Lee in Oregon

    Sam Jones
    Barkley wonders why he’s not a GM?

  • Sixersfan828

    How can Pierce really be in anyone’s top 10. Are you all smoking? I hate the Celtics, in my blood as a sixers fan. But I respect them. Pierce was a side show for so many years with walker and they couldn’t even sniff a ring. Basically you had to surround him with hall of fame players to make him a championship player. truth be told…it wasn’t until KG and Allen got there, did pierce do anything..Not saying Pierce is garbage, but he won’t go into the hall until most of us are already gone. Most of the players on everyones list has multiple rings, pierce will only ever have one. ever!

  • Top ten
    Worst Celtics
    10.Vin Baker
    9.Acie Earl
    8.Orien Greene
    7.Mike Smith
    6.Thomas Hamilton
    5.Nate Driggers
    4.Steve Hamer
    3.Patrick O’Bryant
    2.Stojko Vranković
    1.Kedrick Brown