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Shaq on D&C: ‘I would have played for free’ in Boston 09.28.10 at 8:49 am ET
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Shaquille O'Neal (AP)

Shaquille O'Neal (AP)

In an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal, who has made no less than $10 million in his last 14 NBA seasons and at least $20 million in his last nine campaigns, said that he had no problem taking a pay cut in excess of 90 percent in order to come to the Celtics. O’Neal signed a two-year deal for approximately $3 million this summer, and he suggested that money was virtually irrelevant in making his decision to join Boston.

“I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning,” O’Neal said. “I’ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’t an issue. Money will never be an issue. But Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’t matter to me.”

O’Neal — who said that he wanted to be called The Big Shamrock while with the Celtics — also discussed whether he will be able to “blend in” in Boston both on and off the court, his bucket list, his experience of last year’s Celtics-Cavaliers playoff series from Cleveland’s perspective and his feelings on Dwight Howard and LeBron James, among several other topics.

A transcript is below. To listen to the complete interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

This is Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t mess with Dennis & Callahan, weekdays from 6-10 on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.

Skip the boring basketball questions. Is Boston big enough for your personality?

I always tell people that I was raised Karate Kid style. My father took me many places as a youngster. I started off in Northern New Jersey, born and raised. Went down south to Hinesville, Ga., then to West Germany, then to San Antonio, Tex. I say that to say that I can blend in anywhere.

You probably can’t blend in.

I can blend in. If people are looking for me in Boston, I’ll be in Sudbury. If you’re looking for the Big Shamrock, he’ll be in Sudbury, in the fields of Sudbury.

You’ve settled on the Big Shamrock?

Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics: Irish Coffee 09.27.10 at 7:33 am ET
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It’s time again for your morning cup of Irish coffee. Following the referees’ annual meeting late last week, the NBA announced new guidelines for technical foul calls. Guyism explained all four new guidelines with some comical Rasheed Wallace footage, of course. The guidelines are as follows …

  • “Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court”
  • “Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone”
  • “Running directly at an official to complain about a call”
  • “Players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure”

These stricter rules could spell trouble for the Celtics, even without Rasheed. Kendrick Perkins (16), Kevin Garnett (6), Paul Pierce (5) and Rajon Rondo (4) all finished in the top 50 for technical fouls last season. Based on the above descriptions, Perk might be eligible for a technical foul roughly every time he hears a whistle. Heck, he might even get a handful of techs before he comes back from the knee injury.

The Reclamation of Delonte West

Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie has an interesting take on Delonte West‘s return to the Celtics. He believes this C’s team could be just what the doctor ordered for West, who has suffered from mental issues throughout his career.

“So even with the nonguaranteed contract, you would hope that the Celtics are in it for the long haul, and not for some guy to take a chance on because Tony Allen followed the money to Memphis,” writes Dwyer. “Because this really could be the first season of the rest of Delonte’s life, in 2010-11, as their supportive environment and steady work could be the best possible thing for West as he tries to move forward.”

NBADL Rule Change

The NBA and NBA Development League have reached a deal that allows as many as three players cut from an NBA roster to be assigned to their D-League affiliate. So, the Celtics could potentially store training camp invitees Chris Johnson, Stephane Lasme and Jamar Smith in Maine with the Red Claws (Did Jackie Moon play for them?). I’m sure all four Red Claws fans are drooling at the opportunity to watch Stephane Lasme all winter. Tickets must be flying off the shelves.

Perfect Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce spoke to the media on Saturday following a fitness rally for his charities, The Truth on Health and FitClub34. After a “perfect” summer, he’s excited to chase another title.

“I’ve been in the gym for the last couple of weeks and I’ve probably seen everybody,” Pierce told the Herald. “I’ve been comparing this to the last couple of years. It’s like a new energy with Shaq, Jermaine. You can just kind of feel it around the practice facility–just the energy, the vibe of the guys in the locker room–that we left something behind last year and that’s the trophy.”

Energy isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal (“The O’Neal brothers,” as Doc Rivers has dubbed them).

Shhhhhh! You’ll wake Bill Russell!

Shhhhhh! You’ll wake Bill Russell!

I’m not exactly sure why I found this so funny, but I did. Hats off to GrahamSpector.tumblr.com for that.

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Rivers embraces Celtics history 05.21.10 at 4:15 pm ET
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WALTHAM — History and tradition are wonderful, but there are times when the burden can be too great. Times when the ones who built that legacy feel the need to defend it, and in so doing, wind up taking shots at the current structure. Take the Chicago Bears who are getting criticism from Gale Sayers, among others.

The Celtics are one of the most unique franchises in all of sports, and their past is always playing with the present.

Take Paul Pierce’s epic Game 7 showdown with LeBron James in the 2008 playoffs. The immediate comparison, of course, was to Larry Bird in 1988 against Dominique Wilkins and the Hawks. It’s hard to create your own path when everything has already been done before your time.

But the Celtics embrace their history, and it helps that their alumni embrace it too; as history.

“Our guys are the best,” Doc Rivers said. “That’s the biggest thing that I tell people all the time. From afar you think, man you see all these ex-players around, are they still trying to hold on to their little piece? I don’t know about other organizations, actually I do, but this one is different. Our guys so much want you to do well because you’re a Celtic and they don’t worry about their legacy because they have championships too. I think it’s amazing. The best I’ve ever seen. [John] Havlicek, [Bill] Russell, all of them. When they come around all they tell you is that they want you and how to win.”

The video montage that runs before Celtics games features ex-Celtic greats from Red to Larry to Russ all speaking about their time in Boston as players and what it meant to them to be a Celtics. It’s a subtle reminder, although perhaps not that subtle, of the expectations.

“We brainwash [them] a little bit too and we do it on purpose,” Rivers said. “We show a lot of film of those guys. Larry Bird, some of the things he said, all the stuff about playing in Boston. The history of their voice, for [coaching purposes], is far better than the history of their play.”

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Doc: ‘I think No. 6 should be retired’ 11.13.09 at 7:57 pm ET
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Going into Friday’s game against Atlanta, Doc Rivers had lots on his mind. Namely, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Al Horford and the very young and talented Hawks.

One thing NOT on his mind is whether the No. 23 should be retired throughout the NBA, as suggested by superstar LeBron James.

“I don’t know if there’s a right answer on that,” Rivers said. “Something I’ve been asked far more than I’d like to be asked, going into a game. He said he was going to wear No. 6. That number should be retired. I don’t know what the right answer to that question is. I think it’s good either way.”

James offered to give up his No. 23 and wear his Olympic No. 6 instead. Then, Rivers had some fun with reporters pregame Friday.

“You know who No. 6 is, right?” Rivers said, referring to Bill Russell.

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Russell joins NBA greats for charity 06.30.09 at 12:04 am ET
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(Clockwise: Mourning, Wade, Russell, Billups)

(Clockwise from top: Mourning, Wade, Russell, Billups)

On Saturday night former Boston Celtics Bill Russell and Cedric Maxwell joined a group of the NBA’s finest at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in support of Alonzo Mourning’s charitable foundation. The event was presented by Jerry Powers and the Alonzo Mourning Charities.

The lineup of NBA standouts also included James Worthy, Moses Malone, Dwyane Wade, and Chauncey Billups. Former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant was also in attendance. The event was emceed by Comcast SportsNet’s Gary Tanguay.

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Russell discusses Auerbach book 06.09.09 at 9:42 am ET
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Following the release of his new book, Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend, Bill Russell sat down with USA Today to discuss his relationship with Red Auerbach. Click here for the complete interview. Excerpts include:

Q: Would Red have been able to adapt to today’s NBA player?
A: I tell you something: He would not have had to adapt. He always took the players as they came to him. He didn’t make any (preconceived) judgment. All he was interested in was, ‘Can this player help me win games?’

When I started playing, he said he didn’t know what I was doing because he had never seen anything like that. I went against everything. I started defense to offense. Everybody else was (the opposite), including him. He saw things I did and, after he understood them, made it part of his system. We were learning from each other.

When I was a rookie, I had a beard (against league policy regarding facial hair). He never once said anything about it. Not one single time. He never put artificial pressure on our backs.

Q: Why did the Celtics always stand during timeouts?
A: That started before I joined the team. Red had a thing — the Celtics never sat during timeouts because we were always in shape. We didn’t need to rest — it was a (psychological tactic used against opposing teams).

But my first game, I went and sat down. Red said, to me, ‘Why aren’t you in the huddle?’ I said, ‘I don’t need to be in that huddle. I play center. Everybody else is playing center (tonight). I don’t need to be in the huddle to know to stay the hell out of the way.’ His reaction was, ‘OK, nobody else is playing center.’

When we got home from that trip, he put in a play specifically for me. If he didn’t think the play was called enough, he would call it from the bench.

Q: What is your best memory of your coach and friend?
A: The last time we talked (just before he died) and Red warned me, ‘Don’t fall.’ So concise, so meaningful. I’ll always remember that — until the moment I fall.

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Today in History: Russell Named Player-Coach 10.15.08 at 7:18 am ET
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Russell celebrated #17

Russell celebrated #17

42 years ago today, Bill Russell made history when he became the first African-American head coach in the NBA. Russell was named player-coach of the Boston Celtics on October 15, 1966. The Celtics started the ’66-’67 season 10-1 and finished 60-21 before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Russell coached the Celtics to back-to-back NBA Championships the following two seasons and left his post in Boston with a 162-83 record. He averaged nearly 20 rebounds and 12 points in just over 40 minutes per game as a player-coach.

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