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Five most-hated Boston Celtics

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (and maybe Monday’s blowout loss), Graham and I compiled a list of our five most-hated Celtics of all-time. It just seemed like a perfect way to commemorate the day.

Honorable mention: Glen Davis, Tiny Archibald (his wrongful inclusion on the NBA’s 50 Greatest list helped keep Joe Dumars off), Ricky Davis, Bill Walton, Gary Payton

5. Larry Bird

Get him!

He’d always start a bunch of conflict, then step out of the way. At least the Pistons’ star, Isiah Thomas, would handle his own business sometimes instead of deferring to Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn.

But, honestly, I hate how good he was. His steal and pass to Dennis Johnson still gives me nightmares. And I didn’t see it until it hit ESPN Classic.

4. Kevin McHale


McHale was just as dirty as the Bad Boys. But his reputation was a lot more pristine. He was Detroit’s Rick Mahorn – but with more talent, and that just made him more infuriating.

His reputation in Detroit shot up when he told Bill Laimbeer to beat the Lakers after the Pistons beat the Celtics in 1988. Otherwise, he’d be a lot higher on this list.

3. Danny Ainge

Me too.

This about sums it up. From a 1987 Boston Globe article:

Danny Ainge was the first of the Boston Celtics players to start dancing. There were 4 seconds left on the digital clock atop the blast-furnace old arena and he came close to Dennis Rodman of the Detroit Pistons and he started . . . started . . . what?

He did not seem to know the exact steps to do.

"Is this how you do it?" he seemed to ask the Pistons’ rookie as the time ran down on the Celtics’ 117-114 win in this final, ferocious seventh game at the Garden to capture the NBA Eastern championship and send the world champions into the finals this week against the Los Angeles Lakers. "One finger in the air. Isn’t that it? Right index finger. How about the feet? Is this the right way to do the feet?"

Danny Ainge danced and then Dennis Johnson danced and Kevin McHale danced and half the people in the packed, hot building danced. No one really knew how to dance the way Dennis Rodman had danced in those three Pistons wins in Pontiac, Mich., but somehow that did not matter. The dancers all looked out-of-step, out-of-synch lovely.

"That dance was something I planned to do from the beginning of this series," Danny Ainge said. "That was the Dennis Rodman dance. It was geared right for him."

2. Robert Parish

He played four more seasons after Sports Illustrated called him “old.” Just retire already.

This is exactly why I hate him. Every time I see this play, I get enraged. He didn’t even get called for a technical foul.

Worse, it wasn’t a personal foul, either.

(The NBA hated Bill Laimbeer.)

We really wanted to use this picture, but the watermark prevented us. Just check it out. It’s worth it.

1. Antoine Walker

Nom nom nom nom nom

The reason he’s so high is probably a generational difference, but I just can’t stand the sight of his face.

One of my favorite moments at The Palace came I believe during the 2002 playoffs. The scene on a scoreboard video: a fat guy in a Pistons shirt was eating a giant pizza in what happened to be the Celtics locker room. He got sauce all over himself and needed something to wipe it. Well, right next to him happened to be an Antoine Walker jersey. He grabbed it and sauced it up. The Palace crowd cracked up.

The best part: the entire Celtics bench was watching and losing it, too.

Everyone hated that guy.


  • Mar 17, 201010:51 am
    by PistonsNation


    Love the concept but ….No Peirce or Garnett?? Boooooooooo.
    Oh, and love Joe D but Tiny’s career numbers have it all over Joe’s.
    DYK – It’s Ainge’s birthday today.  Leaves me real conflicted about celebrating :(

  • Mar 18, 201011:20 am
    by Ben


    Good list, but Parrish is the #1 dog of all time!

  • Mar 18, 20106:16 pm
    by confusedindianguy


    What about Red Auerbach? He’s by far the most hated Celtic of all time.

  • Mar 18, 201010:52 pm
    by robert


    Yeah, you’re definitely not going back far enough if you don’t mention Auerbach. The epitome of arrogance.

  • Mar 19, 201010:11 am
    by Ray


    Celtics fan here.  Definitely a Detroit colored list, I don’t think anybody else hated Parish.  I was also surprised by the lack of current Celtics.  Also, Bill Russell probably belongs on here and, as others pointed out, Red Auerbach.  Also, in the HM, guys like Ricky Davis and Gary Payton aren’t really associated strongly with the Celtics, so I wouldn’t include them.  But all in all, a good column.  Looking forward to the most hated Lakers article.

  • Mar 19, 20101:55 pm
    by mike


    walker isn’t a suprise…did anybody like that shimmy thing he did…not a suprise though that you disklike a bunch of guys that knocked the pistons outta the playoffs for like 4 straight seasons in the 80s….tell lambier to keep his elbows down and the chief won’t take him down… 

  • Mar 19, 20109:43 pm
    by madlift


    You gotta be kidding. No mention of Todd Day?

  • Mar 19, 201010:02 pm
    by Bart King


    I was with you until #2…Parish was beloved in our household because he never, EVER complained to the refs. He could be whistled for a foul that occurred on the other side of the court, and he would just look over and walk the other way.
    As for the YouTube footage above, it’s pretty clear that Parish’s forearm just slipped and accidentally hit Laimbeer in the face.
    And surprisingly, it then slips twice more.

  • Mar 20, 201012:36 am
    by Os Davis


    As a Lakers fan, i gotta say i agree with most of this list, but you were definitely correct when you wrote “The reason [Antoine Walker is] so high is probably a generational difference” (unless it’s from what he’s smoking). Having obsessively watched Bird & Magic back “in the day,” i can tell you definitively that Danny Ainge should be #1, not even close. I mean, this guy was hated with a capital HE HATE ME in the 80s; the sort of revulsion folks felt for Sasha Vujacic a couple of years ago was maybe the amount filling most folks’ left pinky when it came to their feelings about “that Mormon puss on the Celtics”…

  • Jul 21, 201312:09 am
    by Tena


    Tiny Archibald a wrongful inclusion in 50 greatest. Ha!  What planet are you from?

  • […] The guys at the Detroit blog Piston Powered come up with a list of the five most hated Celtics ever from a Pistons point of view. Their choice for the top spot reveals their age, I think. It really […]

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