|Wahlberg Shows Another Side of Pierce||10.29.08 at 12:44 am ET|
Over the last few years the TD BankNorth Garden had become a revolving door of new faces. Countless players came and went, as did fairweather fans who no longer wanted to support a losing cause. But there were two faces that stayed the same ‘ a resilient captain and a diehard Bostonian, both who refused turn their backs on the Boston Celtics.
Celtics captain Paul Pierce and actor/musician Donnie Wahlberg developed a friendship during the 2002 basketball season. They shared a special bond of frustration and unmet expectations. Wahlberg wanted to resurrect his career after New Kids on the Block and Pierce wanted to win a title with the Cs. Through this common understanding, Wahlberg got to know a different side of Pierce.
‘Obviously to be an elite athlete you have to have an ego, you have to have confidence, but he’s a special guy because he has humility too,’ Wahlberg said during the Celtics regular season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. ‘So do I and I think that’s one of the reasons why he and I get along. We’ve always shared that mutual respect even through the worst of times. I still traveled with the team, still followed them everywhere, and he never treated me any different.’
Pierce and Wahlberg decided to stick by the Celtics. Wahlberg took in games on both the east and west coasts while Pierce never asked to leave Boston. Six years later, their loyalty paid off. Wahlberg, now on a sold out comeback tour, sat courtside to watch a teary-eyed Pierce receive his championship ring.
‘To see him tonight so emotional, it’s beautiful because you realize how much it really means to him,’ Wahlberg said. ‘He’s a laidback guy so a lot of people don’t realize how much it means to him and how hard it must have been for him during some of the dark times here. It’s a lot of weight and he never came out publicly and said ‘trade me.’ He never did what all the other superstars do. He didn’t do it.’
Despite reports of Pierce living it up in Las Vegas this summer and claiming he is the best basketball player in the world, Wahlberg said he has never become big time. The only difference he ever noticed, in fact, was that of embarrassment.
‘The only time he was ever different was when I could see times when he was really down when the team was really struggling,’ he said. ‘He’d look over and he’d give me a nod and stuff but I could see he was really hurting and embarrassed too. That’s the only change he’s really had. He’s always been consistent, always been gracious, and humble, and wonderful to me.’
To show his appreciation to Pierce for bringing the world championship back to Beantown, Wahlberg invited him to join the New Kids on stage during their first concert at the Garden in 15 years. The group donned Celtics jerseys (Wahlberg wore number 34) while Pierce proudly hoisted the championship trophy in front of a packed house. Even after winning a title and NBA Finals MVP Award, Pierce was still in awe of how Wahlberg could perform under that much pressure.
‘It’s the same thing ‘ I don’t know how he gets on the free throw line in front of all the people that are watching him. But that’s Paul. He’s a humble guy,’ Wahlberg said. ‘When we were on stage together at the show he was like, ‘Wow, I’m so happy for you,’ just the same why I was for him. I gave him a big hug after Game Six and I was just so happy for him and it’s just a good thing. It’s really cool and it’s a trip to hear him say that, but it doesn’t surprise me because that’s the kind of guy he is.’
Just as it was during Wahlberg’s return to the stage, the energy in the Garden was electrifying during the ring ceremony.
‘This building has been a surreal place for me for the last year,’ Wahlberg said. ‘Most of last season I knew there was a chance we were going to play here, I knew there was a chance the Celtics were going to play in the championship, and to actually see it all happen in just like a year’s time, it’s unbelievable. I don’t want to compare us to the Celtics in any way but to share the stage with Paul was very, very powerful for me. I’ve spent a lot of time at these games going through my own ups and downs of my career while Paul was going through his and in the last year it’s kind of been a comeback of sorts for both of us.’
In just 12 months, their six-year friendship has transformed from commiseration to celebration. The level of success has changed, but as Wahlberg says, Pierce hasn’t.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 90, Cavaliers 85||10.28.08 at 10:23 pm ET|
The final score hardly tells this story of this one. It was one of those unforgettable Boston sports nights. One of only 17 in the legendary history of the NBA’s most successful franchise. Raise another to the rafters and hand out the jewelery. Here’s what the players had to say about a night that had it all, and a Celtics come-from-behind win to boot.
|Celtics Entertain at Shamrock Foundation Gala||10.25.08 at 10:46 am ET|
Winning an NBA title is cause for celebration and on Friday night the Boston Celtics shared their excitement at the Shamrock Foundation’s World Championship Gala. Members of the team held little back as they entertained the crowd with anecdotes, jokes, and even an operatic performance when emcee Glenn Ordway passed the mic to Paul Pierce. Highlights included:
- Eddie House gave his best Ray Allen impersonation while explaining the definition of ‘Ubuntu.’ Word is House doesn’t need to practice that anymore … he does it so often it’s like second nature by now.
- Big Baby shimmied across the stage doing his best take on KG’s dance moves. If Davis’ impression is any indication of the real thing, let’s just say ‘Dancing With the Stars’ won’t be calling Garnett any time soon.
- Pierce invited rookies J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker to the stage for a public display of rookie initiation. The two sang an off-key rendition of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ which sounded more like Sanjaya than R. Kelly when Giddens tried to hit a high note.
When all was said and done, the gala raised $1.5 million to benefit the Celtics Shamrock Foundation, which provides education and support for charities in and around the Boston area.
The ornate 2008 World Championship rings were revealed and featured a diamond encrusted emerald shamrock. The big ticket auction item was a personalized championship ring, which went for $15,000.
Other auction items featured autographed memorabilia from the Boston Celtics and around the NBA, including celebratory photographs of the Big Three, an oversized cover of the Sporting News with Paul Pierce and David Ortiz, a basketball signed by members of the 2007-08 Celtics and Lakers squads, and a pair of sneakers worn by Dwight Howard. Guests were also able to bid on the opportunity to dine with the 2008 Championship trophy for the evening.
|Tables Still Available for 2008 World Championship Celebration Gala||10.21.08 at 6:46 am ET|
Tables are still available for the 2008 World Championship Celebration Gala to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The annual gala will be held this Friday, October 24 beginning at 6:00pm at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
This fundraising event raises money for an exceptional cause ‘ providing education and support for children in our community. All proceeds will go to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
This year’s gala will feature the unveiling of the 2008 championship rings as well as a roundtable panel discussion with last season’s starting five, moderated by WEEI’s Glen Ordway.
Members of the Boston Celtics organization in attendance will include All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, members of the 2008-2009 Celtics team and coaching staff, Head Coach Doc Rivers, Executive Director of Basketball Operations and GM Danny Ainge, and Co-owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein.
The gala will also feature once-in-a-lifetime auction items, including a 2008 World Championship Executive Level Ring, Two Gold Level Seats to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, a ‘Travel with the Team,’ and more.
To purchase a table contact Rebekah Splaine at 617-854-8090.
|Celtics Lose, Cuts Loom||10.17.08 at 7:47 pm ET|
Final Score: Knicks 104 – Celtics 97
Eddie House rained threes but that wasn’t enough to fend off the Knicks in the Celtics seven-point loss. House shot 7-for-11 from long range and finished the game with 27 points. Nate Robinson carried the Knicks with 19. A few postgame notes:
- According to Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo (sprained ankle) could have returned to tonight’s game. He left the young PG out, though, since “he knows how to play.” Rondo is still uncertain for Sunday.
- Cuts are coming, and maybe sooner than expected. Doc Rivers said he wants to cut down his roster sooner rather than later to give player(s) a shot at being picked up being another team. He wants to learn more about three or four players before making his decision.
- Who does Kevin Garnett have the best chemistry with? It’s not Paul Pierce. It’s not Ray Allen either. KG said he has “the best chemistry by far” with Kendrick Perkins. Even though Perk missed the beginning of preseason play with a shoulder injury, Garnett claims the two bigs never missed a beat when he returned and were in constant communication tonight.
The Celtics will hold an open practice for a select group of ticket holders tomorrow in Lowell before taking on the New Jersey Nets on Sunday afternoon in the Garden.
|Miles Settling Into Boston||10.12.08 at 10:19 pm ET|
Darius Miles was anxious when he moved to Boston last month. He had played here before on opposing teams but it’s a different story when you are representing Beantown. The city’s winning tradition was intimidating at first.
‘The last time I played there it wasn’t really a big deal because the team was losing games,’ Miles said. ‘Like now just walking into the practice facility, it’s like it’s scary to a point because of the history that goes back on this team. Seeing all these pictures of Bill Russell and all these great players that used to play here and seeing those big banners, it’s different now.’
Through his six-year stint in the NBA, Miles already knew many of the veteran Celtics including Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Sam Cassell. Knowing these players also meant knowing the high expectations of winning another championship this season.
‘I’m a basketball fan so I kind of knew a lot about [the Celtics tradition],’ Miles said. ‘Then once they brought a championship back, that kind of brought it all back to the world and everybody else and it kind of brought it back to my memory too. Like I said it got scary where I just don’t want to mess up, don’t want to miss a pass, drop the ball, miss a shot.’
After six weeks Miles has become more comfortable in his new digs. Doc Rivers has praised his hustle and he seems at ease in the Celtics locker room. Off the court, he has already staked claim of his new favorite restaurant, Biagio in Waltham.
‘I like the family restaurants,’ he said. ‘They don’t have too many name brand restaurants. There are a lot of family-owned restaurants around here, so the food tastes better and the people know how to cook.’
What else does Miles like about Boston?
‘My favorite part is I like everybody’s accent,’ he said, adding, ‘My mom came down here when I was sick (tonsillitis) and she was telling me she liked everybody’s accents too.’
So will this Belleville, Illinois native be pahkin the cah any time soon?
‘No, I don’t think I’ll pick one up,’ Miles said with a laugh. ‘I’m too country for that.’
|Pierce Stiff But OK||10.11.08 at 10:27 pm ET|
“That’s Ron,” Pierce said. “He plays like that preseason, summer league, regular season. That’s the way he plays.”
Artest’s hustle was tough enough to send Pierce to the locker room in the first quarter with a stinger.
“It’s a little stiff. I’ve got a crick in my neck but I’m going to be alright,” Pierce said.
The Celtics captain knows Artest is only the beginning of opponents who will be gunning for him this season.
“You’ve got to understand, when you’re the champs people are going to come at you whether it’s preseason, regular season,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for it.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Why Celtics Will Be Better Than Expected in 2014-15
- Should Celtics Fans Buy or Sell Rondo's Hot Start?
- Lessons Learned from Celtics so Far
- Why Green Will Finally Succeed in Boston
- C's Big Offense Showing a Sign of Things to Come?
- Green's Transition to PF Could Reshape NBA Career Arc
- Could Rondo's Play Increase the Chances He's Dealt?