The Boston Celtics are on the doorstep of reaching the 2022 NBA Finals, a familiar position for one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports.

How many times have the Celtics been to the Finals? Boston entered the 2021-22 season with 21 NBA Finals appearances in its illustrious history. The Celtics first reached the title series in 1957.

The Celtics last reached the Finals in 2010. Boston reignited its rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers for a seven-game series, ending with Kobe Bryant winning his fifth and final championship.

Two years earlier, the Celtics needed six games to beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. It marked Boston’s most recent championship.

The last half-decade of Celtics’ basketball has been highlighted by near misses in an attempt to get back to the NBA Finals. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated Boston from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018. The Miami Heat eliminated the Celtics from the NBA’s bubble in Game 6 of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals. 

As a member of the Heat, James helped keep the Celtics out of the 2012 NBA Finals in a seven-game Eastern Conference Finals. James scored 45 points on 19-26 shooting in an iconic Game 6 performance. Six years later, James had 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in a Game 7 victory at TD Garden to keep Boston out of the NBA Finals.

A significant portion of Celtics’ NBA Finals appearances came over 35 years ago. Larry Bird led Boston to the NBA Finals five times, including four straight appearances from 1984 to 1987. Bird’s Celtics had a 3-2 record in the NBA Finals.

The Lakers and Celtics are tied with 17 championships, though Boston’s four defeats in the NBA Finals are 11 fewer than their rivals. 

From 1957 through 1969, Boston made the Finals every year except for 1967. 

Bill Russell won 11 championships with the Celtics, becoming the winningest player in the history of team sports. A few years after Russell’s retirement, Boston won the NBA Finals in 1974 and 1976.

The Lakers and St. Louis Hawks are the only teams that have beaten the Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics gestures during the fourth quarter in Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on May 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images