'The Celtics are the balls' explained as Boston's rallying cry re-emerges for Finals

Joshua Rogers June 14, 2022
'The Celtics are the balls' explained as Boston's rallying cry re-emerges for Finals
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


‘The Celtics are the balls’ has become Boston’s rallying cry throughout this year’s playoffs. We take a look at where the phrase comes from.

The Boston Celtics are currently taking on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The Warriors, spearheaded by Steph Curry, are most peoples’ favourites, but so far the series is incredibly evenly matched.

With the team enjoying post-season success, you may have seen the rallying cry ‘the Celtics are the balls’ circulating on social media. Here’s where it comes from.

‘The Celtics are the balls’ circulates on social media

The Celtics beat the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals before overcoming the Heat in the Conference Finals. As you’d expect, Celtics’ Twitter was full of hope and optimism, and many fans shared the phrase ‘the Celtics are the balls’.

As Boston continues to do well, the rallying cry is getting more and more traction online:

‘The Celtics are the balls’ meaning and origins explained

Many fans wondered what the meaning behind ‘the Celtics are the balls’ is and where it comes from. The quote comes from an old video of a man in a bar wearing a green shirt saying the words: “Who’s gonna win it? The Celtics! Because there’s no other reason why. The Celtics are the balls!”

This isn’t the first post-season the clip has gone viral with various outlets in the 2019-20 season also posting it during the Celtics’ playoff run.

But where did it come from? Well, in a feature for The Athletic, Steve Buckley pieced together the origins of the phrase. Buckley tracked down the man in the video, Donald N “Donnie” Beardsley. Sadly, Donnie died in 2015 after suffering a sudden heart attack but Buckley was able to speak to his son.

The footage reportedly comes from the 1984 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers when a TV crew spoke to local fans. Donnie happened to be one of the fans they interviewed, and the footage was subsequently used in a 2017 ESPN documentary. The footage was then clipped up and shared to social media – the rest is history.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston’s playoffs so far

The Celtics will hope ‘the Celtics are the balls’ rallying cry can spur them to championship success. Boston surprised everyone by sweeping the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs to set up the series with the Bucks.

They beat the Bucks in seven games and are now into their first NBA Finals since 2010. The current Celtics roster, with the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and DPOY Marcus Smart, is one of the deepest in the league and, if anyone can beat the Dubs, it’s them.

After all, the Celtics are the balls…

Will the Celtics beat the Warriors? Let us know who you think will advance in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.