The 1985-86 Boston Celtics are unquestionably one of the greatest teams in NBA history, but the best ever?
Yes. According to former C’s player, and current President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.
Larry Bird says that title-winning juggernaut was the best team he ever played on.
Per the Boston Globe and CSNNE:
Is the 1985-86 Celtics team the greatest of all time? […] “I don’t know about all time, but it was by far the best I ever played on,” said Bird. “When I went to training camp, I knew that if we stayed healthy, no one could come close to beating us. And that was before we lost Sly Williams. He was unbelievable.’’
Bird’s teammate Danny Ainge was a bit more direct in his response when the same question was asked of him during 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show. […] “I do think so, yeah,” Ainge said. “I think it’s the greatest of all time. Larry and Kevin [McHale] were two of the best players in the league at that time. Larry was MVP that year. Those two guys, because they were in the middle of their prime in that season, more than just the names of the players on the team, that was probably the biggest reason why we were the greatest team of all time.”
The ’85-86 Celtics finished with 67 wins, one short of tying the franchise record, and a roster that included five future Hall of Famers (Bird, McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Bill Walton).