BYU Athletics congratulates former Cougar All-American and current Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Boston Celtics Danny Ainge on the Celtics 2008 NBA Championship.
Ainge was responsible for compiling a team that achieved the biggest single-season turnaround in NBA history to claim the franchise's league-best 17th NBA title. Named the 2007-08 NBA Executive of the Year by the Sporting News, Ainge was able to help bring back a championship to Boston for the first time since 1986 when Ainge played for the Celtics.
The 22 years between titles is the longest the Celtics have gone without a championship in their long and storied history. Boston won its first NBA crown in the league's 11th season, defeating the St. Louis Hawks in the 1957 NBA Finals, and then achieved multiple championships in each subsequent decade until last reaching The Finals in 1987.
As a player, Ainge won two World Championships with Boston (1984, 1986) and appeared in six NBA Finals overall (four with Boston) during his 14-year playing career in the NBA. He also played for the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns, averaging 11.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists over his career. He ranks fourth in NBA playoff history for games played (193) and ranks sixth in most three-pointers made (172). He is also eighth in three-pointers attempted (433). Upon his retirement in 1995, Ainge was one of three players in NBA history to make 1,000 or more career three-pointers (1,002), along with Dale Ellis and Reggie Miller.
As a Celtic player, Ainge averaged 11.3 points and 4.4 assists per game while hitting .386 from three-point range over seven-plus years before being traded to the Sacramento Kings during the 1988-89 season. He rejoined the Celtic organization on May 9, 2003, when he was named Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations.
As a head coach, Ainge compiled a 136-90 (.602) record at Phoenix while guiding the Suns to the playoffs all three seasons at the helm.
At BYU, Ainge won the 1981 John Wooden and Eastman Awards as the nation's best college basketball player following his senior season, when he averaged 24.4 points per game. He was a consensus All-American, a two-time Academic All-American, a four-time All-Western Athletic Conference guard and the 1981 WAC Player of the Year. He set an NCAA record with 112 consecutive games scoring in double figures and broke the BYU and WAC all-time scoring records with 2,467 points prior to the use of the three-point line in college basketball.
At North Eugene (Ore.) High School, Ainge was an All-American in basketball, football and baseball. Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1977 free agent draft (15th round), he played three seasons of Major League Baseball while still attending BYU. Ainge was inducted into the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991, the Oregon State Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and was the first player in BYU history to have his jersey number (#22) retired. Ainge was also inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 2006.