Boston Celtics' Al Horford shoots as Jayson Tatum watches during NBA basketball practice in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. The Golden State Warriors are scheduled to host the Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Credit: ed Jacobsohn / AP

The Boston Celtics are in the NBA finals.

You will never convince me that in the middle of January you saw this coming. At that point the team was the 11th seed in the east and a couple of games below .500.

Yet here they are, four wins away from their seventh NBA title.

You read that right. Lucky banner number seven. Because if they upset Golden State, this will be legit NBA championship number seven.

Why seven and not 17 you ask? Because, frankly, the World Titles won before 1969 really shouldn’t count.

I know. I know. Blasphemy. Old timers and Green Teamers will eagerly brag about the 1956 to 1969 era when the Boston Celtics won 11 NBA championships. They were the dominant franchise in those days, hanging banners yearly. Heck, they won eight in a row in one stretch.

But do you know how many teams were in the league during that era? Nine. Nine! Counting the Celtics!

You do know there’s more than triple that total today, right? And today the rosters are made up of the best athletes from this country and around the world.

That was not exactly the case back before color TV.

Really and truly I get serious about NBA championships starting with the one the Celtics won in 1980. (Although I can live with a couple in the ’70s)

That’s when the live TV coverage of the NBA came into play and large sneaker contracts were being handed out. Larry and Magic arrived and gave birth to today’s NBA. So really the legit NBA is about 40 years old.

And in those four decades for much of that time the Boston Celtics have absolutely sucked. Overall they have been one of the worst franchises in the league.

The last real glory days were the early ’80s. Let’s be honest, you pretty much have to be seriously contemplating retirement — if you’re not already there — to truly remember the last time the Celtics were a “dynasty.”

They have finished at .500 or with a losing record 14 times in those 40 years. They failed to make the playoffs or lost in the first round 20 times. That’s half of all the seasons since 1980! Yuck.

They have not played for a championship since 2010. And as you know they’ve only won one championship since 1986. Thirty-six years! Yet as we watch this series we’re gonna have old footage shoved down our throats of past C’s teams that won “championships” when the league was more of a hobby than a pro sport.

They can show me all the Larry Bird highlights they want. I’ll watch those all night long.

But honestly, with the exception of one small radar blip when Kevin McHale handed former teammate Danny Ainge a gift-wrapped Kevin Garnett, this franchise really hasn’t lived up to any kind of historical high. And I’m not much interested in the stuff before I existed.

In a region where we now expect the teams to play for championships, the Celtics have a chance to deliver one.

If they can’t? Well, we still have those six other legit NBA championships to enjoy.

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports email newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in...