The city of Boston is home to its fair share of sporting legends, with The Boston Celtics having recruited a large percentage of that crop.
The Boston Celtics are one of the most celebrated teams and franchises in American sports history. Founded in 1946 by the president of the Boston Garden-Arena Corporation, Walter Brown, the team boasts a rich history that spans across 70 years.
Originally a part of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the team continued on the path of success to join the NBA in 1949. It was then when the BAA merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Since joining the NBA, the team has won an impressive 17 championships, topping the table when it comes to the volume of wins of any team. However, The Boston Celtics are famed for winning eight championships in a row between 1959 to 1967; something no other team in the league has managed to achieve.
Due to the brand’s iconic nature, it enjoys a strong following of fans, having created a brand synonymous with excellence that is globally recognized. This is why for the team, the logo is so important, being splashed across stadiums, advertisements, apparel, and merchandise across America and the rest of the world.
Below, we look at the journey in which the famous logo has been on, with each design providing a window into the team’s rich history.
The initial logo of the Boston Celtics was a simple white shamrock, created to celebrate the club’s Irish influence and the aura in the city of Boston.
The name ‘Celtics' was proudly featured in white, capitalized in a half-arc above the shamrock. Both elements were contrasted by a green background and outlined by a thin orange border.
While a strong logo with a clear color scheme, the team used the logo for less than four years.
In 1950, a new Celtics logo was produced, created to mark the Arnold “Red” Auerbach era of Celtics basketball. The legendary Celtics patriarch went on to influence everything in Boston’s and the NBA’s history as we know it, starting with the all-important logo!
The new and improved logo was illustrated by Zang Auerbach; the brother of Red Auerbach.
The imagery included a sitting jester who had a big smile and outstretched hands, with a traditional Irish shillelagh in the left hand and a right clenched fist. The jester also had a crown with 'NBA' adorning it, a green petticoat with a white shamrock (clover) pattern. The jester also wore 17th-century men’s front buckle shoes, a big smile, a pipe in his mouth, and a bow tie.
Being a bold image, it was expected to be the team logo indefinitely. However, like basketball in general, things move on and in 1960, another revision of the famous logo was rolled out.
Moving into the 1960s and The Boston Celtics were in peak physical condition, being the age of Cousy and Russell where the Celtics won seven straight NBA championships under Arnold Auerbach. This new logo was an exact reprisal of the former, but with the addition of an orange background that contoured the jester.
Seven years on, and the logo experienced its most significant overhaul with the introduction of Lucky.
This was the first appearance of “Lucky the leprechaun”, illustrated by Zang Auerbach.
The sitting jester was replaced by a standing leprechaun, leaning on a shillelagh in his left hand, while balancing a basketball on the index finger of his right hand.
Donning a green hat, bowtie, and a white vest, all dotted by shamrock patterns, to say this character stood out is a rather large understatement!
The name of the team was in capital letters and arched on either side of Lucky, with a big red basketball used as the logo’s background.
But, just eight or so years on and lucky got himself a makeover.
When we get to the days of Bird, McHale, and Parish, Lucky was redesigned and modernized in line with current design trends.
The multiple colors of the former logo were taken out for a cleaner green and white color scheme, with Lucky now having a longer nose, a pipe in his mouth, a clear wink, and a white outfit.
His white hat, bowtie, and vest were covered in green shamrock patterns, and his shoes were also white. The red basketball was replaced with a green ring, with the team name arched within in a bigger and bolder font than before.
1996 - Present
After moving into the Fleet Center (now known as the TD Garden) during the 1995 - 1996 season, the Celtics decided it was time for yet another logo upgrade, turning Lucky into the character we know and love today.
More color was introduced to the former logo to give it more of a realistic and pop look, arguably reverting it back to earlier design concepts.
Lucky the leprechaun now has a black hat, trousers, and shoes with beige buckles. His coat and bowtie are beige, with green shamrock patterns. The hatband on his hat is colored in beige with the famous shamrock patterns, while his shillelagh and the basketball are now tile red. His pipe, however, remained white.
So, there you have it, a brief history of the many, many versions of The Boston Celtics famous logo!
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