Irish Coffee: Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments
|12.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET|
Tuesday’s Media Day marked the official unveiling of the 2011-12 Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham. Some familiar faces. Some new ones. Here are the top 10 highlights from what was a tame afternoon compared to the Shaquille O’Neal hoopla from a year ago.
10. BACK TO SCHOOL: After finishing six courses during the fall and summer semesters at Georgetown, Celtics forward Jeff Green is just two classes away from finishing a major in English and a minor in theology. He plans on completing his degree in the summer to become the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.
“It’s something I can cross off my bucket list,” he said, adding that a diploma and an NBA championship trophy would be comparable achievements to place on his mantle.
Asked if he could avoid being seen in lectures, Green smiled and said, “I’m 6-9. I can’t hide.”
9. GRUMPY OLD MEN: Since beating Ray Allen in the NBA’s 3-point contest last season, Celtics captain Paul Pierce has a new challenge for his teammate: Who can have the longest career?
Pierce, 34, called the “42-year-old” Allen (he’s 36) an inspiration to play five more years, and then referred reporters to his website PaulPierce.net/TruthonHealth for any questions. Green wasn’t the only one learning during the lockout; Pierce is apparently now a marketing expert.
8. SUPER SIZE ME: We all remember the Shawn Kemps and Vin Bakers of the 1999 lockout — the guys who showed up to training camp so out of shape their bodies never fully recovered. Allen remembers, too.
“There were some guys back in ’99, when you saw them, it was like, ‘Holy cow, this guy was on vacation for the last three months, didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight,’” Allen said. “And that’s not the case in this locker room. We knew it, because we have too many strong-minded individuals.”
Allen had a front-row seat for Baker’s transformation from a guy who averaged 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds for their Sonics the season before to 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds after the last lockout-shortened season. Naturally, the Celtics traded for Baker four seasons later.
“Every day I sat around the house,” said Allen, “I was like, ‘I gotta go work out, because I don’t want to be that guy.’”
7. TOP CHEF: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett cracked one smile during Media Day, when analogizing team chemistry to the culinary arts. “Chemistry is something that you just don’t throw in the frying pan, mix it up with another something, throw something on top of that, then fry it up, put in a tortilla, put in a microwave and heat it up, and then give it to you and expect it to taste good,” he said. “For those who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, you can’t cook and this doesn’t concern you.”
6. THE SWEETEST THING: Celtics training camp invitee Michael Sweetney made an appearance, begging the questions: Why do they keep inviting him to training camps? What are the odds he makes the team: 10,000-to-1? 10,000,000-to-1? Does Doc Rivers owe him a favor? How many Big Macs can he put down in one sitting? Sadly, he walked onto the practice court as media members were ushered off the floor, so he remains a mystery.
5. WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER? Celtics forward Marquis Daniels will wear the No. 4, his third different number in as many seasons (No. 7 in 2009-10 and No. 8 in ’10-11). “I’m trying to be the first one to have a letter here,” said Daniels. “All the numbers are pretty much gone, so I want to get a letter here first.”
Not to worry, Daniels won’t forget what jersey he’s wearing this season, as his older cousins branded his AAU basketball No. 4 on his arm — at age 11. Good times.
4. GONE BABY GONE: Forwards Brandon Bass and Glen Davis grew up just 10 minutes from each other, played basketball together since grade school and even had sleepovers before becoming roommates for a season at LSU. So, the fact the Big Baby trade landed Bass in Boston delighted their childhood friends.
Bass wouldn’t bite on a question about whether the Celtics or Magic got the better of the trade, but he did admit Davis has hit up his refrigerator once or twice. “Oh, man, he can eat,” said Bass. “And he still can.”
3. I AM NUMBER 44: New Celtics big man Chris Wilcox will wear No. 44 this season — the same number C’s president Danny Ainge, who signed Wilcox, wore from 1981-89. Wilcox will be the sixth Celtics player to wear the number since Ainge, joining Rick Fox, Eric Riley, Adrian Griffin, Jiri Welsch and Brian Scalabrine.
“I do feel a lot of pressure now,” joked Wilcox. “No, he didn’t say anything, but like I said these are big shoes to fill being a Celtic anyway, so we’ve just got to take it in stride.”
2. FIGHT CLUB: New Celtics backup guard Keyon Dooling denied any bad blood left over from his fight with Allen that led to a bench-clearing brawl between the Magic and Sonics on Jan. 11, 2006.
“The Sonics? Is that even a team anymore?” said Dooling, laughing it off. “That’s ancient history now. At the end of the day, when Ray and I saw each other the next time after the fight, we had a conversation and we embraced each other. At the end of the day, it was the heat of the battle. I have a lot more respect for him, and I know he has a lot more respect for me. Sometimes you know a man better when you fight.”
Who won? “Nobody wins a basketball fight. The NBA won. They got all the fine money. They always win, right?”
1. EUROPEAN VACATION: It wouldn’t have been Celtics Media Day without asking second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore about his experience as Scalabrine’s teammate on Benetton Treviso in Italy during the lockout.
“The legend of Scal?” said Moore. “Man, Scal had his own song in Italy — his own Scalabrine song. The White Mamba is definitely a great guy. He definitely taught me a lot about this team and the league.”
All I can say is: Get me that song. That’s it for now from what seemed like a likable group of Celtics this season.