|Irish Coffee: Bill Russell, basketball’s grandfather||02.19.13 at 12:31 pm ET|
I was 12 years old when my grandfather died, and I never really got to ask him about playing for Passaic (N.J.) High’s “Wonder Team,” owners of the longest win streak (159 games) in prep basketball history and entrants into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, or about playing for Rutgers, where he apparently also took part in a handful of exhibition games under an assumed name for $25 a night. This was the 1920s, before the NBA.
So, when Bill Simmons interviewed Bill Russell, basketball’s grandfather, on NBA TV Monday, it made me feel profoundly nostalgic, jealous and robbed of so many great tales of my own basketball ancestry. But mainly I just felt lucky that we all still have this great link to Celtics past. Heck, to American history. And we should cherish that.
Russell shared captivating story after captivating story. His admiration of his father Charles, who raised his playwright brother Charlie L. and him while working for decades in an Oakland foundry. His belief he would never have played in the NBA if he hadn’t been traded from the “overwhelmingly racist” city of St. Louis in 1956 to Boston for future Hall of Famers Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. His quiet first meeting with a young Kansas freshman named Wilt Chamberlain. His pavement of the road to professional players’ unions and big contracts, like the $100,001 one he signed in 1965 — one more dollar than Chamberlain’s deal. His support of Muhammad Ali during the heavyweight champ’s conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. And so on and so on.
He was fascinating. Here are 11 great quotes from the interview, one for every title he won for the Celtics.
|Marc Spears on D&C: ‘I know the Clippers want to do this’ trade for Kevin Garnett||02.19.13 at 11:33 am ET|
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc Spears checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the rumors of a trade between the Celtics and Clippers, and the Celtics’ interest in Hawks forward Josh Smith.
With Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching, rumors continue to swirl that the Celtics and Clippers are discussing a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles for DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe.
“I think the Clippers want it done more so than Boston,” Spears said. “This is the first time we’ve ever talked about the Clippers having a championship shot. I think they realize that they’re missing just a little something to get them over that hump with Oklahoma City and with San Antonio. And who better to get them there than Kevin Garnett?
“I was there [at All-Star Weekend] when Kevin said no, no circumstance, nothing. But I really believe if Danny [Ainge] came up to him and said, ‘Hey, this is something we would like to do; this is better for our future,’ knowing Garnett’s pride, I think he would probably change his mind. I know he doesn’t want to be somewhere where they’d rather have something else.”
Jordan is having a solid fourth season (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Bledsoe, while not a starter, also is having a good year (9.6 ppg, 3.3 apg).
“DeAndre Jordan I think is a better center than [he's] getting credit for,” Spears said. “He’s really really retooled his offensive game, gotten better in the post, but the problem is everybody on the Clippers likes to shoot. … I think he could be one of the NBA’s elite centers, he’s just not given a chance.
“Bledsoe is very very talented, very athletic. I don’t know that acquiring him certainly means that [Rajon] Rondo is gone. He and Chris Paul play a lot together, so I can’t see why him and Rondo can’t play a lot together. But I know Bledsoe is at a point in his career, too, where he wants to start, so that’s where I think it gets kind of tricky.”
It appears that the trade could benefit both clubs. It would give the Celtics a quality starting center and a young point guard, while the Clippers would get a player with championship experience who still is playing good basketball at the age of 36. KG has stated numerous times, though, that he wants to finish his career with the Celtics.
“I know the Clippers want to do this, I know they want to,” Spears said, adding: “This is an opportunity for the Clippers to finally get something. The window with Garnett obviously is about two years, but they’ve never been here and I think their owner might be in the mentality now of just ‘Let’s go for it. I’ve saved money for all these years with these bad teams, I might as well do something for once.’ So I think they’re open to doing something big.”
|Celtics offer condolences after death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss||02.18.13 at 4:26 pm ET|
Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday at the age of 80 following an 18-month battle with cancer. The immediate cause of death was listed as kidney failure.
“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”
Buss bought the team in 1979 and owned it during its most successful tenure. The Lakers won 10 titles and competed in 16 finals during the 34 years of his ownership. Two of his children, Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, have been handling most of the team’s day-to-day responsibilities as his health failed.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck released a statement, saying: “I had the pleasure of working with Jerry closely for the last 10 years on league matters. He was a wonderful business colleague, brilliant competitor and became a good friend. Although our teams competed in two finals during that time, the friendship never wavered. He will be greatly missed and the entire Celtics organization offers condolences to the Buss family and Lakers organization.”
|Report: Celtics sign ‘freakish’ Terrence Williams||02.18.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
The Celtics and former Louisville star Terrence Williams, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, agreed to what’s believed to be a 10-day contract, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
Terrence Williams signing is a done deal according to #celtics source
— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) February 18, 2013
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound wing averaged 17.9 points (47.9 FG%, 42.3 3P%, 71.7 FT%), 4.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 27.0 minutes a night over 29 games in the Chinese Basketball Association for the first-place Guangdong Southern Tigers prior to being unceremoniously replaced by Donald Sloan on Friday two games before the CBA playoffs. Williams averaged 7.6 points (40.4 FG%, 31.5 3P%, 68.2 FT%), 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 129 games over three seasons for the Nets, Rockets and Kings.
Once dubbed “a freakish athlete” by Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Williams played his prep career in Seattle, where Celtics guards Avery Bradley and Jason Terry have strong ties. T-Will chronicled his basketball journey in a web series titled “Poor Hungry Driven.”
The Celtics begin a five-game West Coast road trip on Tuesday against the Nuggets. They had just 10 healthy players on the roster after season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa. Williams is expected to join the team in Denver, according to Washburn.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers hinted at such a deal over the past week. He and team president Danny Ainge agreed last week that they would rather sign the best available player than somebody who fills a need at a certain position (i.e., a point guard or a big), and Williams fits that bill. Likewise, Rivers said on Friday the C’s were looking at possibilities in the Chinese Basketball Association, and later that day Williams became available. Coincidence?
|Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett loves Celtics, hates Craig Sager suits||02.18.13 at 11:23 am ET|
The only thing worse than the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities was TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager‘s suit — a hideous monstrosity even by Sager’s standards. No wonder Kevin Garnett won’t play in another All-Star Game.
“Hey, man, stop wearing stuff like this when you do real interviews,” said Garnett, who finished scoreless in just six minutes of action during the East’s 143-138 loss to the West. “Straight up.”
“What’s wrong with it?” asked Sager.
“You look like a Christmas ornament,” Garnett countered.
Gotta love Sager playing naive. Perhaps he forgot Garnett telling him in 2008, “You can’t just grab something from the 1970s and bring it back,” or in 2009, “You take this outfit home, and you burn it.” But surely he recalls Saturday’s All-Star Game practice, when a mutual love of clowning Sager’s suits resolved any lingering conflict over the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios between Garnett and Carmelo Anthony:
|Kevin Garnett isn’t about to waive his no-trade clause||02.16.13 at 3:28 pm ET|
Speaking at media availability during All-Star Weekend in Houston, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said he wasn’t intent on waiving his no-trade clause. Garnett responded with a “No,” when asked if there was any circumstance he would consider waiving the clause.
He later added, “Why would I come back and make the visits to rally this team to go further only to be set up to have change?”
At one point, Garnett asked if the only questions would be trade-related. He then relented when a reminder was offered regarding Thursday’s trade deadline.
“I get it. I get it,” he said. “It’s all good. If it’s up to me, I’m going to live and die green all day.”
Earlier Saturday, Yahoo! Sports reported the Celtics and Clippers were in discussions regarding a deal that would send Garnett to Los Angeles, and Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan to Boston.
|Trade rumor: Celtics ‘salivating’ over landing Hawks’ Josh Smith for Jeff Green, Brandon Bass||02.16.13 at 9:39 am ET|
The Celtics “would be receptive” to trading both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass for Hawks forward Josh Smith, according to longtime Bucks beat reporter Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.
The Nets and Bucks are also reportedly interested, but “for a few weeks now” the Celtics have been “salivating” over the possibility of landing Rajon Rondo‘s Oak Hill Academy teammate, according to the report.
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