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Irish Coffee: Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments

10.01.12 at 5:36 pm ET

Considering the Celtics have been unofficially practicing together since early September, Friday’s Media Day at the team’s practice facility in Waltham seemed less like a welcome home party than years past and more like an interruption of a team’s quest for the franchise’s 18th NBA championship already in progress. That attitude is reflected in the top 10 moments from this year’s Celtics Media Day compared to the same post last season.

10. Chris Wilcox on missing the playoffs again: “I was fresh out of surgery when they made it to the playoffs. The whole time, I was just trying to see whatever I could do. I was like, ‘€˜Doc, there’€™s no way I could come back?’€™ And he was like, ‘€˜Don’€™t even think about it.’€™ So, it was just motivation, because I can’€™t watch basketball and not play it. … I’€™m out trying to walk on treadmills and doing all these different kind of things, just trying to get back, because I wanted to be around basketball. I’€™ve never been to the playoffs before. That was going to be my first experience, and then that had to happen, so it was tough.”

9. Jared Sullinger on dropping to the Celtics: “Everybody was knocking me for the back problems and all this crazy stuff, but I could care less. Like I told everybody, if I dropped to the Celtics at 21, and I could go back and redo everything — and me not getting hurt — I’ll get hurt again and slide all the way back down to 21, just so I could be with the Boston Celtics. I’d redo it, because it’s a great organization, great vets, great team.”

8. Courtney Lee on the Celtics’ championship tradition: “Every organization I’€™ve been with, winning has always been the key, but here you believe — you feel it, you see it. We’€™re not even starting training camp yet, and we had our whole team here Sept. 4, and everybody was dedicated to getting better. The motto of it was to win a championship. The first day I got here, on the fourth, all Rondo was talking about is a championship and getting back and winning. Once you hear that from your star players, you don’€™t want to let them down, so that motivates you to get on the same page, and that’€™s all it’€™s about: Winning.”

7. Danny Ainge on Rajon Rondo’s leadership ability: “Rajon is really becoming a leader, and I’€™m not sure a few years ago that we could have said that. He’€™s obviously a great player, but he right before our eyes is growing as a person and as a leader. I think the hardest thing to do is to convince guys like Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that you’€™re a leader. That’€™s something that you can’€™t just give to somebody; that’€™s something that has to be earned. And I think that he is earning that respect from them as a leader of the team.”

6. Rajon Rondo on Kevin Garnett’s close friendship: “I would probably say Kevin is my closest friend on the team. Kevin always wants to see me do well. From Day 1, I think my second year, when he first came in, he told me he would be disappointed if I wasn’t the MVP of the league one day and if I wasn’t considered one of the best point guards one day. So, he’s always pushed me and expected more out of me than a lot of people did.”

5. Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett’s retirement threats: ‘€œI really wasn’€™t confident he was coming back. He said, ‘€˜This is it for me.’€™ People didn’€™t know this, but there were times we’€™d be in the locker room, and I’€™d be like, ‘€˜Kevin, is this your last year?’€™ And he’€™s like, ‘€˜Yeah, this is it.’€™ And I’d say, ‘€˜If you’€™re going to retire, then I’€™m going to retire.’€™

“But then I started thinking: Kevin’€™s been in the NBA since he was 18. He doesn’€™t know anything else. What’€™s he going to do? He has to come back. When in you’€™ve been in the NBA that long — you’€™re fresh out of high school, and then you’€™re talking about you’€™re going to retire — and you’€™re still playing at a high level, it’€™s like: What else are you going to do? This is in his blood. This is what he was born to do. For him to be playing at a high level … and with his competitive spirit, I knew he wasn’€™t going anywhere.”

4. Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce’s retirement threats: “Paul wouldn’€™t have retired. I saw his contract, and I don’€™t think he was going to retire.”

3. Jason Terry on following Ray Allen’s footsteps: “Who? We’re two different players, and hopefully I’ll bring something Ray didn’t and some of the things that he did. Obviously, Ray was a great player for this franchise for years, brought them a championship in ’08, but again our games our totally different. He’s 6-foot-5 or whatever, and I’m 6-2, but I am The JET, and I like to fly.”

2. Darko Milicic on LeBron James & Co.: “I stopped chasing the dream as being the second pick a long time ago. All I was asking the people from the NBA, my teams that I played for before, let me be the best that I can be. … For me, for people to say, ‘€˜Hey, you’€™re right, you should be the second pick,’€™ I’€™d have to have 50 points and 30 rebounds. Those guys are f@cking animals. LeBron [James], [Dwyane] Wade and all those guys [Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh], they’€™re great players, so for me to prove people wrong, I’€™d have to have 100 points and 50 rebounds a game. All I’€™ve been thinking in my career is that people let me be the best I can be.”

1. Kevin Garnett on Ray Allen’s Miami move: “I don’€™t have Ray’€™s number anymore. I’€™m not trying to communicate with him. I’€™m just being honest with everybody in here. It’€™s not that I wish him less than or whatever, it’€™s just what it is. I choose not to [communicate with him]. That’€™s a choice I personally made. I’€™m very close to Ray, I know his family, I wish nothing but the best for him and his family, I just made the choice to move on. That’€™s all.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Wilcox, Courtney Lee, Danny Ainge
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