So far we have heard very little about Theo Ratliff who came over with Telfair from Portland. Danny mentioned that he was on vacation when the trade went down but that his mother said that he was very happy to be a Celtic. Then Doc made a remark about trying to funnel everything into the center to Ratliff. Other than that, they haven't said anything about him. Here is a brief profile to give you an idea who Theo Ratliff is. Every article mentioned what a nice guy he is and like several of our players, he has gone through some rough times and come out the better for it.
One of our newest Celtics is Theo Ratliff, who is a 6'10" F/C veteran Ratliff was acquired from Portland in the draft day trade that also brought Sebastian Telfair here and sent Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau to Portland. We haven't heard much about Ratliff because he was on vacation with his family when the trade went down and the only news we got from him was that his mom said that he was happy with the trade.
Theo Ratliff has overcome obstacles that could have kept him on the sidelines for good. He has demonstrated an impressive ability to adapt to circumstances beyond his control -- from a congenital leg problem to a series of career-threatening bone and muscular injuries. Ratliff's work ethic is intense, but his easy-going attitude allows him to accept adversity as it comes. He has silenced critics by turning his most obvious disadvantage -- his comparatively smaller, leaner frame -- into an asset that places him in an elite class of shot blockers.
Ratliff was born with a leg defect that required corrective surgery at the age of three. Doctors broke and reset his leg, and they inserted metal pins that remain in his leg to this day. He had to wear a cast and leg brace for much of his early childhood. Throughout middle school and high school, Ratliff remained fairly injury-free and healthy other than the scrapes, bruises and occasional broken bones that most kids experience. He excelled at basketball, particularly on the defensive side. At Demopolis High School in Alabama, Ratliff helped the team to records of 19-6 and 25-4 his junior and senior years. During his high school years, he avoided the weight room, at the time believing the common misconception that adding more muscle to his frame would mess up his shot.
He attended college at the University of Wyoming for four years. Although he felt undersized at first, he was never comfortable with the idea of bulking up quickly. He was convinced that once his body had fully developed, he would not need to add on extra weight for its own sake. Instead of trying to become something that he wasn't, he exploited the size difference. In the course of his college career, he found a way to guard much bigger players by taking advantage of his superior quickness and agility. By the end of his time at Wyoming, Ratliff was named the second-best shot blocker in NCAA history and WAC defensive player of the year.
He was selected with the 18th pick of the 1995 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, and played with the Pistons for 2 1/2 years. He saw limited playing time in his first couple of seasons in the NBA, but still managed to lead his team in blocked shots.
In the 1998-99 season he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. In the summer before his third year in the league, Ratliff experienced the first of a series of painful and debilitating injuries. He banged knees with someone and got a crack in his kneecap. Over the next several seasons, from 1999 to 2001, Ratliff experienced injuries to his ankle, wrist and hip. He missed 25 games in 2000. In 2001, he was able to play only 50 of the 82 regular-season games. In total, he missed 134 of 246 games from 1999 to 2002.
He played in Philadelphia for 3 seasons, and was voted Eastern Conference starting center of 2001 All-Star Game, but was unable to play due to injury. He was a key player on the 2000-2001 Philly team that made it to the NBA finals, but they finished the season without Ratliff who was traded to the Atlanta Haws at the trade deadline. He missed most of the next season due to injury, but rebounded to post 262 blocks the next year with the Hawks. In the 2003-2004 season, which was his best year as a pro, he recorded a league-leading 307 blocked shots. It was in this year that he was traded to the Blazers. After the 2004 season, the Blazers extended his contract. He was not as effective in 2004-2005 as he had been the previous season. As a result, midway through the season, he lost his starting job to Joel Przybilla. Last year again, he missed considerable time and played in only 55 games due to injuries. If he is healthy he should be able to back up Perk and give us an inside presence when Perk is on the bench. He could be like another oft injured center from Portland who came to Boston and thrived here, helping us to win our 16th championship. By this time next year, even if he isn't playing, he will be an asset due to his expiring contract. From all reports he is a great team guy as well, and should be a good mentor for our young bigs.