I was reading a story this morning about Artis Gilmore from Michael Mclellan's book Boston Celtics Where Have You Gone? Gilmore came to the Celtics after 5 years in the ABA, 7 years with the Bulls, and 5 years with the Spurs. Even though he played just 47 games with the Celtics in 1988, Gilmore remembers his time in Boston very fondly. He had this to say about the organization:
It was truly a professional organization. Today, many of the other organizations are similar in the way they treat the athlete, but that wasn't always the case. The level of professionalism wasn't the same; and the other franchises have had to play catch-up. Something as simple as uniforms is a prime example; the Celtics always made sure that the uniforms were clean and ready for the players, whereas this task was the player's responsibility everywhere else that I played. That has changed now. All NBA franchises take care of the uniforms.
Times have changed since then and athletes are pretty much pampered and catered to by their franchises, but we still hear players who come from other franchises talk about how the Celtics are a first class organization and how different they are from other teams out there. We often hear the word "family" mentioned when discussing the Celtics. Another word we hear is "brotherhood." The Celtics have always been about bonding and family. That has never changed.
In a piece by Scott Souza today, who has been putting out some good stuff, he talks about the rookies and their reactions to "The Celtic Way." Remember, they just got back from a week out in LA with the veterans courtesy of Rajon Rondo and that left quite an impression on them.
Our rookie class is a loose bunch. Sully and Fab were voted the funniest by their fellow rookies. The entire group has bonded over the summer as they have scrimmaged and worked together at the Celtics practice facility. Scott's article relays this story:
First-round pick Jared Sullinger ducked into Celtics.com’s Molly McGrath’s interview with second-round pick Kris Joseph and the rookie duo played off each other in a comedic routine, while an inside joke from Dionte Christmas had the whole crew doubled over in laughter at the reference that left the media shrugging their shoulders at just what was so funny.
This group has played together through 10 games in 2 weeks of Summer League. They have practiced together all summer, where they have been joined by veterans Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Rajon Rondo. They had a week with the entire team hanging out, playing flag football, and scrimmaging hard 4-5 hours a day. They have experienced the guidance from the veterans to help them get ready for their first NBA season. They have worked with the strength and conditioning coaches where they have worked themselves into NBA shape. Both Melo and Sully have stated that they have lost weight, added muscle and are feeling good to start the season.
“This is a first-class organization. I say it all the time. I could ask any one of the guys in my draft class this year and they’ll say that didn’t happen with any other team. The team bonding here is huge. I can tell. It’s a family effect.”
There's that word again. Back when Walter Brown and Red Auerbach put together those first contending teams, they established the Celtics as a family. They made sure that the Celtics treated their players with respect and that there was a family atmosphere about the team. And that family atmosphere continues today through all the various owners, coaches and GM's. And that bonding among the rookies, and extending to the entire team, is the Celtic way.