How Warriors, Bay Area helped Celtics win all 17 of their NBA titles

It’s fair to say that inconsistent play in the NBA Finals saw the Golden State Warriors inadvertently help the Celtics near a record-breaking 18th NBA championship.

It’s also fair to say that Boston gets help from Bay Area folks when it’s most needed, it’s just that history is repeating itself. Again.

There’s a ton of evidence that the Celtics didn’t become the most iconic franchise in NBA history of their own accord. Whenever the Celtics needed a helping hand over the years, the Warriors and the Bay Area have always been there for them.

Search for the roots of each of the Celtics’ record-breaking 17 NBA championship trophies, and you’ll find that they run deep here in the Bay Area.

Everyone. Single. one.

From Bill Russell, KC Jones, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Paul Silas, Paul Pierce and even Larry Bird, these great Celtics all came on the way – or on the way – from our bay to the back bay to collect championships.

Boston Celtics star Bill Russell, left, is greeted by coach Arnold “Red” Auerbach on his 10,000th Point congratulated in the NBA game against the Baltimore Bullets at Boston Garden in a December 12, 1964 photograph. (AP Photo/File) (AP Photo/File)

Legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach isn’t just known for chewing victory cigars. He was the architect of 16 of Boston’s championships.

“There’s a correlation between all these players – they’re great guys. Red brought people with him who he thought would suit the Celtics,” said Garry St. Jean, a former Warriors coach and general manager.

Here’s how the aforementioned elite Celtics contributed to all of those green-and-white championship banners in the rafters of TD Garden:

Track #1-11: Russell’s fingerprints were all over the Celtics’ first 11 title trophies. The former star of McClymonds High of Oakland and the University of San Francisco established himself as perhaps the game’s greatest player upon his arrival in 1956. (We’ll explain later how the Ice Capades—yes, the Ice Capades—helped the Celtics bring Russell in.) Jones, his USF teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, also played a major role in eight of those consecutive championships (1959-66).

Track #12-13: Silas was another McClymonds defensive All-Star coming in a trade from Phoenix. The Suns lost a lot of defensive tenacity and watched as Silas helped bring two more titles to Boston in 1974 and 1976.

Track #14-16: Parish and McHale arrived in Boston courtesy of the Warriors in one of the biggest NBA trade heists of all time. Together they have teamed with Bird for three championships (1981, ’84 and ’86). Boston’s coach for the title runs in ’84 and ’86? None other than KC Jones.

The Warriors also played a role in Bird’s move to Boston, as they decided to pick Bird in 1978 — and missing him a year to finish his game at Indiana State was too risky — opting for the safer choice, Draw Purvis Short.

Title #17: The 2008 championship year was a throwback to the No. 1 title almost 50 years ago – one of Boston’s big stars was a native of Oakland. Pierce was born in Oakland before his family moved to Inglewood. More local influence came in 2008 from a couple of benchers: Hayward High’s Eddie House and Oakland Tech’s Leon Powe.

St. Jean, the Warriors’ GM in 1998, admits he should have brought Pierce back to Oakland. But they brought in Antawn Jamison with the No. 4, making Pierce the No. 10 for Boston, where he was the 2008 Finals MVP.

“I loved Paul Pierce, but I ended up listening to my Boy Scouts,” St. Jean said during a phone interview Thursday. “I remember interviewing Paul and he said, ‘I’d like to play here.’ … We should have picked Pierce.”

Title #18? If the Warriors lose that streak next week, Boston’s potential record 18th NBA title would feature another Bay Area twist — star swingman Jaylen Brown was a former star at Cal. Don’t forget that coach Ime Udoka would become the second former USF player alongside Jones to coach a title-winning team in Boston.

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