When thinking of Delonte West , three things come to mind.
- The viral video of him on YouTube rapping at a fast food restaurant.
- His employment at a furniture store during the NBA lockout.
- And, most importantly, his gritty style of play on the basketball court.
“The old saying is after the game they should know your name,” said Celtics  coach Doc Rivers . “I guarantee when you’re done playing Delonte West, you’re going to know Delonte West. That’s big for a team. He’s an instigator.”
Rivers should know. He coached West for four seasons when the 28 year-old was playing for the Celtics. West spent his first three years in the NBA in Boston. His next three years were spent in Seattle and then Cleveland. West re-signed with the Celtics before last season.
Unfortunately, in his second stint as a Celtic, West never was able to stay on the court. He spent the first 10 games of the season serving a disciplinary suspension for pleading guilty to weapons charges related to a Sept. 2009 arrest. Shortly after returning, West suffered a wrist injury which hampered him for the better part of the season. He was limited, appearing in only 24 games.
“It was tough,” West said before his Mavericks played the Celtics. “I really didn’t get a chance to put my best foot forward. I found my way a little bit in the playoffs, but it was too late.”
Despite the injury-riddled season last year, West said the Lakers, Mavericks, and Celtics were all in pursuit of him during the frantic free-agent period. Ultimately, West signed with the defending champion Mavericks. He said the decision to sign with Dallas did not come easy, as he imagined finishing his career in Boston.
West has been an important contributor in Dallas’ title defense this year. He has started all but one of the Mavericks 11 games in place of injured Jason Kidd . “[West] set the tone in recent games with his competitiveness,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle . “Particularly on the defensive end, he’s been solid all the way through.”
West played a season-high 34 minutes Wednesday night in his homecoming to Boston. His line wasn’t impressive: 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting and, of course, one bloody nose.
The Saint Joseph’s University product joked several times that he wanted to play basketball for another 20 years, and that maybe he would end up back in Boston before his career ended. Regardless, West will always remember his time as a Celtic fondly.
“I’ve got to chance to shake hands, share personal jokes, had lectures with some of the Celtic legends,” he said. “I got the chance to have a conversation with Red Auerbach . Those memories you never replicate. There are so many positives and great things that I can take from the basketball experience I had playing in Boston.”