The Boston Celtics (ˈsɛlˌtɪks) are an American professional basketball franchise based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Founded in 1946 and one of eight NBA teams (out of 23 total teams) to survive the league's first decade, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins. The franchise's seventeen championships are the most for any NBA franchise, and account for 25.4% of all NBA championships since the league's founding in 1946. This makes the Boston Celtics the most successful franchise to date in the major four traditional North American professional sports.
The Celtics have met the Lakers a record twelve times in the Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, with the Celtics winning nine and Lakers winning three. Four Celtics (Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Larry Bird) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of ten MVP awards. Their mascot 'Lucky the Leprechaun' is a nod to the team's Irish heritage and to Boston's historically large Irish population.
The Celtics rose again after struggling through the 1990s to win a championship in 2008 with the help of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. During this time, point guard Rajon Rondo developed into a perennial all-star. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were later traded to the Brooklyn Nets.