Hibbert Has Close Ties to Celtics
|12.04.08 at 12:02 am ET|
Roy Hibbert never played for the Boston Celtics, but with all of his ties to the organization he might as well have.
When the Celtics landed the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, all signs pointed to selecting the big man from Georgetown. Hibbert had already impressed Red Auerbach and seemed to have the size and potential to help the struggling Cs.
“Playing for John Thompson, [Red] used to come watch our practices at Georgetown for a number of years,” Hibbert said prior to Wednesday’s Boston Celtics-Indiana Pacers game. “He would talk to me after practice and talk to me about big man stuff, and him and Big John would relive some memories.”
Hibbert made an unexpected decision to return to Georgetown for his senior season and played alongside Doc Rivers‘ son, Jeremiah. That year Auerbach passed away. In the short time they talked, Auerbach left a lasting impression on him.
“It was nice because he’s such a nice person and he obviously knows the game really well,” Hibber said. “He’s coached a lot of great players so any time you get to soak up a minute of his time is always great. I went to his funeral and all his former players came. It was a special moment.”
When Hibbert entered the league in 2008, he was appropriately enough traded to Larry Bird‘s Indiana Pacers.
“I always grew up a Celtics fan, obviously of Larry,” Hibbert revealed. “Once you start playing it’s all business, no more admiring. You have to go at it every night and it’s all business so you have to take care of it.”
On Wednesday night the business at hand was tying to beat the Celtics for the second time this season. Hibbert couldn’t afford to be starstruck, even against one of his favorite basketball players.
“Paul (Pierce) [was my favorite] when I was in high school. I have one of his jerseys back home,” he said. “But it’s all business when we get out on the court. It’s nice to be able to play against the greatest players in the world right here.”
Pierce and the Celtics may have got the best of the Pacers, but simply being in the house that Red built was special for Hibbert. Auerbach’s signature scrawled across the court was a reminder of just how much it meant to know the man behind the organization.
“Obviously I’m going to have to work for everything I get but it was nice that he had confidence in me,” he said. “I have a long way to go but it nice that great folks like that would take the time to talk to me and see something in me.”