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Irish Coffee: Celtics legend Bill Russell sues NCAA 10.06.11 at 11:59 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Dear Electronic Arts,

I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

You want the good news first? Kudos on the NBA 2K12 commercial featuring San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson. His argument for the 1986 Celtics as the greatest team ever is pretty much perfect.

I particularly enjoyed this quote from the Winchester, Mass. native: “If you were to take all those players and put them in a blender of greatness, you’d get strawberry milkshake, because they’re sweet.”

Now for the bad news. Bill Russell is suing you. And he’s suing the NCAA. It takes a lot to get under the skin of the greatest winner in sports history, but you’ve gone and done it. The lawsuit accuses the two conglomerates of using Russell’s likeness without compensation or his consent.

Russell’s claim argues that the NCAA violates antitrust laws by profiting from video of former student-athletes, like $150 videos of his two University of San Francisco championship seasons. The Celtics legend also accuses EA Sports of using his image in the “Tournament of Legends” portion of their college basketball game.

“Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” attorney Jon King told Bloomberg via e-mail.

Have fun arguing against a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree in court.

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Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Magic Johnson, NCAA
Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue! 10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.

Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.

Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.

Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.

Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.

My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.

If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.

For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Irish Coffee: Celtics, Heat party in NYC’s meatpacking district (not that there’s anything wrong with that) 10.03.11 at 11:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Enough’s enough. The NBA might still be locked out, but Irish Coffee’s holdout has officially come to an end. It’s October, and NBA training camps should be in progress. Instead, the Celtics and Heat are partying together.

After the C’s swept the Knicks and got out-athleticismed (new word!) by the Heat in five games during the 2011 NBA Playoffs, did you ever think you’d be reading about Carmelo Anthony hosting Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in New York City’s meatpacking district on Oct. 3? At least the Daily News reported that “the Boston boys and Anthony’s crew exchanged little more than ‘hi and bye’ pleasantries.”

Did you think Rajon Rondo would pledge to play alongside Wade, LBJ, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire at an event hosted by Isiah Thomas on Oct. 8? At least its for charity.

Did you think restricted free agent Jeff Green – the crux of the Kendrick Perkins deal that many believe killed the Celtics season faster than an unnamed Red Sox player can slam a beer in the clubhouse — would be discussing the oh-so-difficult process of making smoothies on some lady’s couch (see embedded video)? At least he’s staying healthy. (On an unrelated note, should we tell them that almond milk, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and ice isn’t a protein shake?)

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Delonte West, NBA, Paul Pierce
10 Things I Heard About Celtics VII 09.20.11 at 6:35 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIVV and VI) …

10. Taking time out from practice on the LSU campus, Celtics free agent forward Glen Davis recently traveled to South Portland, Maine to dedicate a pair of basketball courts and speak on behalf of a charitable venture.

The latter event provided us with two dichotomous Davis interviews courtesy of the local NBA affiliate: 1) the awkward exchange in the embedded video between a report intent on asking lockout questions and Davis, who clearly wanted no part of it; and 2) the poignant speech to Day One fundraisers about being raised by a mother with substance abuse problems.

We’ll start on the basketball side. The short of what Davis had to say was “I have no worry,” “Everything will be Ok” and “We’ll be back on the court.” The long of it:

  • On the lockout: “The owners and the players are trying to deal with something, and they’ll make sure everything will happen the way it needs to happen. I have no worry. Everybody loves basketball.”
  • On the lockout, again: “They have issues. We have to work them out. Everybody wants basketball. With everybody on the same ground, we can work something out. Everything will be Ok.”
  • And again: “I think a lot of guys are working out and preparing themselves, but everybody’s at their house or doing something. We’re preparing like there’s going to be a season, and after everything gets worked out we’ll be back on the court.”
  • And again: “We’ve got to work things out first. In the meantime, between time, I’m just affiliated with and doing other things, so I’m just waiting.”

Now to the human side. Here are a few touching tidbits from Davis about his childhood:

  • On his hometown: “I grew up in a neighborhood where there were drugs everywhere. It was like walking zombies out there.”
  • On his upbringing: “I had to face some things that I never could ever imagine that I would have had to face as a young child. I was put in situations where I had to grow up as an adult. I had to realize what life was really about.”
  • On finding hoops: “In basketball, that’s where I found the values of life. It’s where I found that structure. It’s where I found that place where I can vent and be me, because I had to be someone else.”

The Portland Press Herald has more from the emotional Davis, who was introduced by Celtics legend Dave Cowens with this: “All the old guys I played with think he really knows how to play the game.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Glen Big Baby Davis, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce goes 1-on-1 with Maria Menounos 09.14.11 at 10:21 am ET
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Most people can only dream of scoring on Maria Menounos. Not Celtics captain Paul Pierce. Not only did Pierce wax the Medford native in a little game of 1-on-1, but she offered to buy him dinner afterwards. I guess they don’t call him The Truth for nothing. And I think I just hit the innuendo quota for one blog.

By the way, I enjoyed how Menounos said she couldn’t start her new job without everybody knowing where she stands. Um, this is a new job? Hasn’t she been doing that show for like 10 years? Apparently, she’s moved from “Entertainment Tonight” to “Access Hollywood” to “Extra,” and here I was thinking that was all the same show.

Whatever. There’s no doubt Menounos has been a long-time C’s fan. Here’s picture proof:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Extra, Maria Menounos, Paul Pierce
10 Things I Heard About Celtics VI 09.13.11 at 11:49 am ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIV and V) …

10. After Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett participated in the Pros vs. G.I. Joes video gaming event to promote Call of Duty, a few interviews have emerged from the event. The embedded one by a dude in a Yankees hat from Machinima.com asks which member of the Celtics is the best video game player on the team.

“I would say Big Baby,” Garnett said. “Big Baby [Glen Davis] is probably our best gamer, just because he plays a lot more than everybody else. He’s young, doesn’t really have a family yet, got all this extra time. You know, young boys, they find time to occupy themselves with gaming and other things. If I had to give it up, it would have to be Big Baby. Big Baby’s really good. He’s consistent with his play.”

Of course, the 25-year-old Davis does have a daughter who just turned 1 year old on Sept. 2, so his gaming skills may have slipped since he last played against Garnett.

9. Exhibition games continue to fill Celtics restricted free agent forward Jeff Green’s offseason schedule, as he’ll compete in the Clash of Superstars for charity in Washington D.C. on Saturday before a game between his Goodman League squad and an Indianapolis Pro-Am team on Sept. 24.

In this weekend’s game to benefit a local Boys & Girls Club, YMCA chapters and an area basketball academy, Green will join fellow NBA players Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, James Harden, Greg Monroe, Corey Brewer, Jarrett Jack, Eric Maynor and Samardo Samuels.

Celtics first-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson is expected to join NBA performers Zach Randolph, Eric Gordon, George Hill, Mario Chalmers, Gordon Hayward and Lance Stephenson on the Indy Pro-Am team that will face a Goodman group led by Green, Durant, Wall, Cousins and Jack the following weekend.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Michael Lee caught up with Green over the phone. The highlights:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Justin Bieber, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
10 Things I Heard About Celtics IV 08.30.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” III and III) …

10. The success of the 1985-86 Celtics (67-15; 40-1 home; 15-3 playoffs) stemmed from not only talent but intellectualism, according to this recent NBA.com puff piece. The team featured six future NBA head coaches: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Rick Carlisle and Sam Vincent. Not to mention quote machine Bill Walton. Here’s what McHale and Walton had to say on the subject …

  • Kevin McHale: “We had a lot of guys on that team who really knew the game and understood what it took and what it meant to play it the right way. I kinda took it for granted, thinking that was the way everybody played, because I had been around guys with the Celtics where everyone understood that. I probably realized for the first time that it wasn’t that way everywhere when Danny Ainge told me that other people couldn’t totally change their game plans during a timeout and then go right out onto the floor and execute it. It was after Danny got traded to Sacramento and he said that if that team didn’t work on something in practice for three days, there was no way they could do it in a game. We could devise a whole new scheme in a timeout and then just go do it. I guess everybody on that Celtics team just had a good basketball mind.”
  • Bill Walton: “Everyone constantly thought basketball. Everyone always played a mental game. Even though we were a team that physically had the tools necessary to be at highest level of the game, it was the mental edge that allowed that team to be so special.”

9. Reason No. 893 Celtics guard Ray Allen is cool: While every other NBA player is seemingly shopping himself overseas or making headlines in exhibition games against questionable competition, the 3-point king works on his golf game as if it were just another off-season.

Golfer Natalie Gulbis will join Celtics guard Ray Allen in a charity golf tournament next week.

Last month, Allen played in Lake Tahoe. Two weeks ago, in Connecticut. Next week, in New Jersey at the Liberty Cup Charity Golf Tournament with golfer Natalie Gulbis and “Desperate Housewives” star Kyle MacLachlan. All for charity.

I guess that’s why Allen was cast as Jesus Shuttlesworth in “He Got Game” and not someone like Kobe Bryant (interesting tidbit: Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury were reportedly approached for that role, but their agent wanted a guarantee that one of them would get the part).

8. As we’ve discussed previously, Austin Rivers and his Duke basketball teammates are traveling China and the United Arab Emirates, crushing every team in their path. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is also with the team to watch his son make fools out of people internationally. Dubai newspaper Gulf News caught up with the pair that hopes to soon become the third father-son NBA duo in history (Jan Van Breda Kolff and Butch Van Breda Kolff; Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Mike Dunleavy Jr.). Here’s what Doc had to say about his son and vice versa … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
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