Boston Celtics: Not Your Father's Celtics

Tony H.Correspondent IJune 23, 2008

The Boston Celtics are World Champs. Congratulations, and it's about time. For the franchise and the fan base that likes to remind everyone just how truly head-and-shoulders the Celtics are above other NBA franchises, it's about time. 

Celtic backers are quick to remind anyone and everyone of the great players who have worn the Celtic green and the unparalleled history of the franchise. Seventeen NBA Titles, including a streak of eight in a row that will be very difficult, if not impossible, for any professional franchise to match in the modern era.

Add to that the 31 men associated with the franchise currently enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and the history speaks for itself. The Celtics are the most storied franchise in NBA history. 

But, how has the model franchise fared in the modern era? This may come as blasphemy to many Celtic fans still drunk from last weeks culmination of a season long journey, but simply put, not that well.

In what is widely acknowledged as the NBA's modern era, or since Magic and Larry first laced up their Forum Blue and Gold and Black Leather Converse respectively, the C's have hardly lived up to the lofty standards established by their forefathers. 

From the '79-'80 season through the '07-'08 Campaign, the Celtics have posted a .572 winning percentage, going 1337-1009. Not bad.

But, this includes a 778-830 record, or .509 losing percentage, between the title years of '86 and '08. The modern era has also seen the Beloved Boys of Beantown turn in 11 losing seasons wrapped around eight straight sub-.500 efforts in a row. Hardly the foundation upon which great franchises are built. 

On the Championship front, things have been a bit more positive for the boys in green. Four titles in 30 years? There are franchises that would sell their soul for one title in 30 years. Well, maybe not Donald T. Sterling. But I'm digressing. Where does this championship haul rank against other franchises over the same period of time? 

* One better than Detroit's three titles.
* Tied with the San Antonio Spurs at four each. 
* Trailing the Chicago Bulls who have hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy six times. 
* Half as many as the Los Angeles Lakers who have brought home eight titles. 

That last one has to hurt, particularly when one considers the Celtics are .500 in head-to-head series against the franchise every Celtic fan loves to hate. 

Final point.

A Celtic franchise that in large part has built its name on championship winning streaks has yet to successfully defend a title in the modern era while the Pistons, Rockets, Bulls, and Lakers all have made encore appearances in the championship circle. 

This year's Celtic team, thanks to a friend helping a friend to rebuild their old franchise, was the best in the NBA. Making their way through a tough Eastern Conference and simply outplaying, out-hustling, and physically dominating the NBA MVP and a young Lakers team in the Finals should put any arguments to the contrary to rest.

But, as we acknowledge the greatness of the '07-'08 Celtics, we must also put to rest the notion of historic Celtic Dominance. In the modern era, there are teams with more titles, superior winning percentages, and simply better histories for this fallacy to continue.