The Celtics may be in need of an outsized overhaul—starting, say, with two of the top six picks in the 1997 draft and a new coach worth $50 million—but that hasn't stopped the old mystique from spreading to benches outside Boston. Five players who won NBA championship rings as Celtics will be head coaches in the pros next season:
DANNY AINGE, Phoenix Suns
A Blue Jays infielder before joining the Celts in 1981, he inherited 0-8 Suns in November and guided them to the playoffs.
DAVE COWENS, Charlotte Hornets
Undersized and uncompetitive pivotman in Boston in 1970s, Big Red passed on his fiery temperament and went 54-28 in his rookie year as full-time coach.
LARRY BIRD, Indiana Pacers
Best trash talker and long-range marksman of the 1980s, Larry Legend now gets chance to coach best trash talker and long-range marksman of the '90s, Reggie Miller.
CHRIS FORD, Milwaukee Bucks
Won a title in '81 with Boston and later coached Celtics to 222-188 record, but needs leprechaun's charms after 33-49 debut season in Milwaukee.
K.C. JONES New England Blizzard
Defensive stopper during his decade-long playing career with the Celtics, whom he later coached to titles in 1984 and '86, Jones, 64, switches tracks from NBA man-to-man to ABL woman-to-woman.