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“They never won the championship when they had 28 teams and so much parity in the league” - Michael Jordan once dissed the Boston Celtics’ early championships

While the C's are always praised for being a historic franchise and having the most championships many, including Michael Jordan, feel there's a caveat in regards to their achievements.
Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan in action against the Boston Celtics

Michael Jordan vs. the Celtics

The Boston Celtics are the first team in NBA history to solidify and separate themselves on a tier of their own as champions. They currently have a total of 18 NBA titles, 11 of which were won before the 70s. Basically, Boston won 11 championships in 13 seasons from 1957 to 1969. Led by the likes of Bill Russell (who was part of those 11 rings), the Celtics dominated the era before the NBA completely expanded and had 28 teams.

While the C's are always praised for being a historic franchise and having the most championships (tied with the Los Angeles Lakers at 17), many, including Michael Jordan, feel there's a caveat in regard to their achievements.

Jordan believes there was no parity when the Celtics won those 11 titles

In 1993 after Jordan claimed his 3rd championship with the Chicago Bulls, he was asked whether his team could be considered the greatest of all time. MJ didn't hesitate to say that his Bulls should be considered one of the greatest teams ever (and rightfully so) because they played in the most competitive and hostile era.

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While saying that, Mike brought up the Celtics from the '60s and '70s and implied they didn't play at a time when the league had so much parity.

"I know there's going to be a lot of opinions about who's the greatest team but forever. When you look at the Celtics, they got 16, 18, I don't know how many championships they got. But they never won the championship when they had 28 teams and so much parity in the league. In this era. So that means something to win three in a row, knowing there's so much talent in this league now. So much parity in this league... We feel we must be considered one of the greatest teams ever," Jordan said in his championship press conference.

Should the Celtics' titles be weighted the same way?

The 6-time champion has a point in saying that most of the Celtics' titles before the 80s happened when there wasn't much competition in the league. However, it's also not the Celtics' fault for establishing itself in the league early and making a mark by claiming as many championships as possible in the early days of the NBA. So while it's unfair to discredit Boston's achievements, it's also worth noting that Jordan's comments make sense.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the NBA will always count the Celtics' early championships, whether they were won against 28 other competitors or not. No title in the league deserves an asterisk because, after all, they were won fair and square at that corresponding time and situation of the NBA.

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