|10 Things I Heard About Celtics VII||09.20.11 at 6:35 pm ET|
On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” I, II, III, IV, V and VI) …
10. Taking time out from practice on the LSU campus, Celtics free agent forward Glen Davis recently traveled to South Portland, Maine to dedicate a pair of basketball courts and speak on behalf of a charitable venture.
The latter event provided us with two dichotomous Davis interviews courtesy of the local NBA affiliate: 1) the awkward exchange in the embedded video between a report intent on asking lockout questions and Davis, who clearly wanted no part of it; and 2) the poignant speech to Day One fundraisers about being raised by a mother with substance abuse problems.
We’ll start on the basketball side. The short of what Davis had to say was “I have no worry,” “Everything will be Ok” and “We’ll be back on the court.” The long of it:
- On the lockout: “The owners and the players are trying to deal with something, and they’ll make sure everything will happen the way it needs to happen. I have no worry. Everybody loves basketball.”
- On the lockout, again: “They have issues. We have to work them out. Everybody wants basketball. With everybody on the same ground, we can work something out. Everything will be Ok.”
- And again: “I think a lot of guys are working out and preparing themselves, but everybody’s at their house or doing something. We’re preparing like there’s going to be a season, and after everything gets worked out we’ll be back on the court.”
- And again: “We’ve got to work things out first. In the meantime, between time, I’m just affiliated with and doing other things, so I’m just waiting.”
Now to the human side. Here are a few touching tidbits from Davis about his childhood:
- On his hometown: “I grew up in a neighborhood where there were drugs everywhere. It was like walking zombies out there.”
- On his upbringing: “I had to face some things that I never could ever imagine that I would have had to face as a young child. I was put in situations where I had to grow up as an adult. I had to realize what life was really about.”
- On finding hoops: “In basketball, that’s where I found the values of life. It’s where I found that structure. It’s where I found that place where I can vent and be me, because I had to be someone else.”
The Portland Press Herald has more from the emotional Davis, who was introduced by Celtics legend Dave Cowens with this: “All the old guys I played with think he really knows how to play the game.”
9. While both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce received some high praise over the next week, Kevin Garnett got another backhanded compliment from a former admirer.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia told a group of fans gather at the Salem Boys & Girls Club that Allen is his favorite Boston athlete. Then again, he also said Barry Bonds was his childhood idol.
In an interview with HoopsWorld, former Celtics guard Tony Allen said he learned a ton from the C’s captain: ”I learned so much from Paul Pierce it’s ridiculous. The one thing that stood out from him was confidence, and that’s one thing I never lost no matter how many times I got injured. I’ve always been a competitor. Once the confidence and the competitive spirit collided — sky was the limit.”
Asked by a fan via Twitter who his idols were growing up, 23-year-old Jazz forward Jeremy Evans said via The Salt Lake Tribune: “Of course, everybody likes Michael Jordan. And then I also like Shaq, just because he’s big. And then probably KG. He’s a little different than I expected. But I like him, too.” Every few months, it seem some young NBA player claims the Garnett he meets on the court is a lot different from the one he imagined playing against as a teenager. I’m guessing it has something to do with his inclination for trash talking.
8. The greatest winner in sports history obviously has some clout. Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell attracted dozens of big names to participate in a golf tournament at Friar’s Head Golf Course (Baiting Hollow, N.Y.) to benefit The National Mentoring Partnership.
Attendees included football and lacrosse legend Jim Brown; basketball stars Julius Erving, George Gervin, Charles Barkley, Jerry West and Alonzo Mourning; and baseball titans Reggie Jackson and Joe Morgan.
A picture of Russell and Brown sitting side by side got me thinking: Who is more respected in their sport? There are those who consider Russell the greatest basketball in history (me) and those who think Brown was the greatest football player ever (my father). I think these stats pretty much settle the issue:
- Russell: 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game; 11 NBA championships
- Brown: 104.3 rushing yards, 21.2 receiving yards and 1.1 touchdowns per game; 0 Super Bowl titles
7. Alongside Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley and Kemba Walker, Celtics restricted free agent forward Jeff Green participated in the Clash of the Superstars over the weekend in Washington D.C. And only a few hundred fans showed up? And I thought D.C. was a basketball town.
Anyhow, Green’s team lost to Durant’s, 144-128, but we got an endless array of Green dunks courtesy of the ballislife.com highlight video …
6. Is there anybody worse than secondary ticket salesman in the sports business? Seriously. All they do is buy a ton of tickets and sell them to fans for a higher price. Their is no redeemable quality about it. It’s legalized scalping, only a select few are allowed to profit from it. It makes absolutely no sense.
Along those lines, after explaining how Celtics ticket sales are “flat, totally flat” as a result of the NBA lockout, Ace Tickets president Jim Holzman told TicketNews, “The Celtics are an aging team and a shortened season might help them, so I could make it up on the back end.” And by “make it up on the back end,” he meant “rip people off during the playoffs.” Just had to get that off my chest.
5. Both Garnett and Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal were spotted at Floyd Mayweather‘s controversial boxing victory over Victor Ortiz this past weekend. Of course, KG and JO both know a thing or two about the fighting game, as the former has an entire YouTube video dedicated to his altercations and the latter punched a fan during The Malice in the Palace.
Speaking of Celtics centers from this past season, here’s three more links …
- Kendrick Perkins reportedly told new Thunder teammate and Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook that he was no Rajon Rondo. Great locker room presence, huh? (Too soon?)
- Nenad Krstic reportedly has a $1 million buyout clause in his two-year contract with CSKA Moscow, although he still wouldn’t be able to return to the NBA until the 2012-13 season.
- Shaquille O’Neal reportedly almost signed a deal to play with his cousin Demond Mallet for Belgium’s Charleroi team in the Euroleague until “talks died” as a result of his Achilles injury.
4. We know why O’Neal was in Vegas, as he and Celtics backup point guard Avery Bradley are both participating in the Impact Competitive Training Series. Playoffs for the lockout league begin Thursday and end Friday.
Also in Vegas, NBA players association executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher held informative labor meetings last week with 30-35 players. Pierce was reportedly supposed to attend but didn’t. JO did. Meetings between NBA owners and players are expected to continue on Wednesday and Thursday.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to live with these hoopmixtape.com highlights from Week 1 of the Impact League (Bradley clips begin around the 2:00 mark, and JO makes a brief appearance at 2:42) …
3. NBA.com published an interview with the always spectacular, scintillating and stupendous Bill Walton. The former Celtics Sixth Man of the Year is a bit long-winded, so I pulled out a few highlights:
- On the key to happiness: “Health. Family. Your home. And then dream and hope for a better tomorrow. Those all build off each other.”
- On his health: “I’ve had 36 orthopedic operations, have two fused ankles, my knees, hands and wrists don’t work, I now have a fused spine, other than that, everything is great.”
- On back pain: “I can only describe the pain as being submerged into a vat of scalding acid that has an electric current running through it.”
- On exercise: “My bike is my gym, my wheelchair and my church all in one. I’d like to ride my bike all day long but I’ve got this thing called a job that keeps getting in the way.”
- On his favorite player: “My favorite player growing up, my favorite player ever to this day, is Bill Russell, on and off the court.”
- On John Wooden and Jerry Garcia: “They were really the same person. And you can put Larry Bird in there, in the same conversation, too. Selfless leaders who were more concerned and interested with the success of other people, with the success of the team, than they were with their own personal accomplishments.”
- On music: “Music is critical in our lives and culture. It’s the inspiration that drives us. It’s also the window to our souls. It’s a reflection as to who we are, what we stand for and where we’re going. Which leads to the ultimate question of now that we’re here, what do we do?”
- On stopping stuttering: “It’s the greatest accomplishment in my life, learning how to speak. While it was Marty Glickman, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who taught me how to speak, now they’re scouring the earth trying to find the person who can get me to stop talking.”
2. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the death of Dave Gavitt, who served as Celtics executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1990-94. He was 73. A 2006 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Gavitt led Providence College to the 1973 Final Four, established the Big East Conference — serving as its first commissioner — and helped select the 1992 USA Basketball Dream Team that included Larry Bird.
“While he was changing the face of college basketball with the Big East and NCAA Selection Committee, he was still able to influence so many, including me personally,” UConn head coach Jim Calhoun told the Associated Press. “He never didn’t have time to talk about the game. His legacy will always include his kindness as well as his greatness. He will be greatly, greatly missed.”
1. Had basketball not lost its greatest coach five years ago, legendary Celtics leader Red Auerbach would have turned 94 today. In his honor, I give you “Red on Roundball” in its entirety (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10). Now excuse me while I go smoke a cigar in memoriam …