Sebastian Telfair has always worn number 31 as a tribute to his community. But when he came to Boston, the number 31 had been retired for Celtic Great Cedric Maxwell. Bassy was going to ask Max for permission to wear the number out of retirement. Today's Globe tells us that Max is willing to let him wear it but it is the "Celtics' decision" and that they wouldn't let it happen because it would cheapen the number. He is getting a new start with the Celtics. Why not make it with a new number?
Numbers Game, Part 1. Sebastian Telfair received a typical introduction when it came time to select a uniform number with his new team. In high school and with the Portland Trail Blazers, Telfair wore No. 31, a nod to the address of the Coney Island housing project where he grew up (off 31st Street). But the Celtics have retired No. 31 to honor Cedric Maxwell. So Telfair settled on No. 30.
But Telfair mentioned that he wanted to talk to Maxwell, hoping to negotiate with him to take the number out of retirement. Maxwell joked that his kids would hold the ladder while he personally pulled down the number.
``If somebody was offering me some money to wear it, I would," said Maxwell. ``And I'd give some of the money to charity. I'd negotiate in a heartbeat."
Turning serious, Maxwell added, ``But this is the Celtics' decision, and I know the Celtics would not let that happen. It would cheapen the process of all the retired jerseys. I would never want to cheapen the process that has allowed me to be among the other great players."
I agree with Max. Taking down a retired number and using it diminishes the value of retired numbers. While I do think that the organization over the years have gone too far with retiring numbers (for the record, I don't consider Maxwell an all-time great Celtic, but a really good one during his stint here), taking down a retired number isn't right.
But if Telfair can't get #31, I hope he doesn't use #30. It still reminds me of Mark Blount.