|Celtics to unveil long overdue Bill Russell statue||10.16.13 at 5:36 pm ET|
The Celtics finally announced plans to unveil the long overdue Bill Russell sculpture designed by local artist Ann Hirsch in Boston City Hall Plaza on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. — prior to the C’s home opener against the Bucks that night.
With Russell and his daughter Karen Kenyatta Russell in attendance, TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith will emcee the festivities, and the guest list is ridiculous.
There are the usuals: Celtics alumni Tommy Heinsohn, Sam Jones, JoJo White, Satch Sanders, Johnny Jones, Em Bryant, Togo Palazzi, Ronnie Watts, Rick Weitzman and Bill Walton; Celtics owners Stephen Pagliuca, Wyc Grousbeck and Bob Epstein; and team president Rich Gotham. NBA commissioner David Stern and his successor Adam Silver, Red Auerbach‘s daughters Randy and Nancy, Celtics legend Jim Loscutoff‘s wife Lynn and Warriors president Rick Welts are also expected to attend.
The pop culture icons: musicians Johnny Mathis and Bill Withers, Pulitzer prize winners Isabel Wilkerson and Taylor Branch, four-time Emmy Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard and human rights activist Kerry Kennedy.
And politicians: former Senior Advisor to the President David Axelrod, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Congressman Joe Kennedy III and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell.
In addition to the sculpture, featuring 11 elements to represent each of Russell’s championship rings, a legacy committee comprised of Russell’s daughter, Heinsohn, Menino, Pagliuca and Bobby Sager established a mentoring grant program in his honor that has already handed out $50,000 to programs in need.
‘I am happy to see the Celtics embrace mentoring and create this program that benefits children,’ Russell said. ‘My lifelong passion is to help the mentoring of children and the biggest honor of my career was to be captain of the Boston Celtics.’
A representation of the sculpture can be found on the artist’s website.
|Fast Break: Paul Pierce’s ugly Celtics reunion||10.15.13 at 10:19 pm ET|
Paul Pierce‘s first game against his former team had to be this ugly. The Nets and Celtics combined for 95 missed field goals and 43 turnovers in a brutal 82-80 Brooklyn victory, and that doesn’t even do it justice.
The Celtics held Pierce to just four points on six shots in 27 minutes, but Brooklyn bigs Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche, who started in place of a reluctantly resting Kevin Garnett, combined for 34 points in a winning effort.
Meanwhile, five Celtics scored in double figures — Courtney Lee (14 points), Kris Humphries (12), Jeff Green (12), Kelly Olynyk (10) and Jordan Crawford (10) — as the C’s showed some encouraging signs despite dropping to 1-4 in their first preseason without Pierce since 1998.
|Celtics at Nets: Paul Pierce in, Kevin Garnett out||at 10:18 am ET|
Paul Pierce is expected to play when his new team hosts his former team in the preseason on Tuesday night, but Kevin Garnett won’t be in the Nets lineup against the Celtics, and he’s none too pleased about it.
‘It wasn’t my decision, so that’s where I’m going to leave that,” Garnett, who already voiced his displeasure in coach Jason Kidd‘s plan to rest him on back-to-backs, told the New York media after Monday’s win in Philadelphia. ‘I’m trying to be as positive as I can. It’s not up to me. I’m being positive and go with the plan that was laid out for me and being positive with that. So I’m trusting Jason and the plan he has for myself. … I just feel like every day you have a chance to better your craft and be part of the group, I’d like to be a part of that.’
Pierce has already expressed to reporters that he will not be in the Brooklyn lineup when the Nets come to Boston for the final game of the Celtics preseason on Oct. 23. The same is expected to be true for Garnett.
Meanwhile, Jeff Green pulled a KG “I don’t have Ray Allen‘s number anymore” after Monday’s Celtics practice. ‘I haven’t spoke to none of them since they got traded,” he said. “Probably [Jason Terry] is the last person I talked to out of them. It just got to the point where it was time to move on for me. They’re gone. I can’t worry about how they feel or how I feel. The trade happened. When I see them, brief words and then I’ll get ready to play.’
Now, if only Green can back up that statement the way Garnett did in 2011-12. He’s currently shooting a team-worst 27.5 percent from the field on a team-high 10.0 field goal attempts per game and averaging fewer points in more minutes than Phil Pressey. Perhaps that’s what Brandon Bass was trying to say here: ‘We don’t have our OG’s anymore, so the young G’s got to step up and be old G’s now and go out and play. It’s sunk in.”
|The complicated Gerald Wallace-Tom Brady-David Ortiz man love triangle||10.14.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
New Celtics forward Gerald Wallace‘s introduction to the Boston media last month came complete with an awkward explanation of his man crushes on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
“I’m actually happy to be here in Boston. I’ve always loved the city of Boston when I came. And, besides, I’m a Red Sox and Patriots fan, so I’m closer to my teams. … I’m from Alabama. We don’t have a professional team there. I like Big Papi. I’ve always followed Big Papi. I enjoyed watching him in those days. That’s how I became a Red Sox fan. And I’m just fascinated with Brady. I like watching Brady play. I’m a big, big Brady fan since he got started in the league. I’ve been following him since Day 1. Him and Coach Belichick. Those are my favorite teams. Actually, at my house I have a split Patriots and Red Sox room. Basically shoes, material things. I have a couple Brady jerseys, a couple pictures of Brady, Belichick, the championship teams, a couple of the Super Bowl pictures, a lot of the Red Sox World Series things, I have an autographed bat from Ortiz, just some memorabilia.”
OK, then. That went from, “Oh, he’s just saying that to endear himself to Boston sports fans,” to, “Holy crap, this guy has a room dedicated to Tom Brady and David Ortiz in his house,” real fast. For those of you wondering at home, Wallace is 31 years old. And a professional basketball player. I don’t want to say Sunday should have been the best day of Gerald’s life, but Sunday should have definitely been the best day of Gerald’s life.
Especially considering Wallace attended the Patriots-Saints game and met Brady before his man crush completed one of his most improbable comebacks in a career filled with improbable comebacks. Here’s picture proof.
|Rajon Rondo, a Chinese reporter and a shoe||10.11.13 at 4:39 pm ET|
A Chinese reporter interviewed Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo while he sat in a chair with his new Rondo 1 shoe from Anta on his lap. My favorite part is when some dude stops her from asking any more questions about his knee. Well, that and all of Rondo’s humor getting lost in translation. Here are some other highlights. Enjoy.
Let us know the latest update on your knee injury.
“I’m right on schedule. I will return this year, and I’m taking one day, one week at a time.”
How long do you anticipate until you’re back on the court?
“Well, I’m on the court now. As far as playing, I don’t know. I don’t really want to put a timetable on it, because it’s something that I can be going great for one week and then I can have a setback with this type of injury the next, so I’m just going to take it one week at a time.”
“The pressure gets bigger each year, and if you know me, then you know I love pressure, so I don’t think about it too much. I’m just focused on getting my knee back healthy and getting back on the court as fast as possible.”
What do you think are the main characteristics a team leader needs to have?
“He has to be humble. He has to be able to listen. A leader doesn’t always have to be the one that talks. You have to lead by example, and just always have faith and believe in one another.”
What do you hope to see from the Celtics this season?
“I hope to see us grow as a team. I hope to see us win a lot of games, and as long as we’re out there competing and give it all we have each game, then I think we’ll do that.”
Danny Ainge always pledged he’d pull the trigger when Red Auerbach never could — trading a couple Boston legends in the twilight of their careers — and now Auerbach’s daughter is questioning the current Celtics president’s pride after the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
“Given [Red Auberbach's] track record and philosophy of life, not in his lifetime would that have happened,” Randy Auerbach told Yahoo Sports. “He really took a lot of pride in players finishing their careers with the Celtics. That was something very important to him.
“If it was for Chris Paul, maybe. We got nothing [for Pierce and Garnett]. You don’t trade laterally, and we didn’t even get laterally. But I hope it works. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be wrong.”
The way Ainge tells the story, Red shared a couple trade scenarios he ultimately rejected with Ainge, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during a Christmas party in the early 1990s: 1) Bird to the Pacers for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich, and 2) McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. Ainge claims he urged Auerbach to make the trades, but Bird denies it went down like that.
|Stat man: The Phil Pressey factor||10.10.13 at 12:25 pm ET|
Forget about Chris Babb, the Celtics‘ training camp invitee whose plus-20 rating in eight fourth-quarter minutes stole the show against the Knicks, because based on the current projected salary structure the C’s can’t sign him. As a result, the most impressive player on the roster Wednesday night was backup point guard Phil Pressey.
The son of former Celtics assistant coach Paul Pressey didn’t even get on the Garden floor in Game 1 of the preseason, but sadly a death in Jordan Crawford‘s family opened the door for the Missouri product to get minutes behind Avery Bradley. And Pressey basically submitted a flawless performance in his first NBA appearance.
The former Waltham star’s straight stat line — 13 points on five shots, seven assists against zero turnovers, three rebounds and two steals in 28:05 — is impressive in its own right, and it gets better the deeper you dive into it.