Happy Birthday to Tommy Heinsohn who turns 78 today!! If you are a Celtics fan, you love Tommy for his absolute love of the Celtics and he hides it from no one. When I do the Comments from the Other Side columns, almost every one includes comments on how much they hate listening to Tommy because he broadcasts in the only way he knows how, 100% pro Celtic. But, every Celtic fan loves Tommy and would rather listen to the Celtics broadcast than any other announcers.
Since 1981, Tommy Heinsohn has been the color analyst on the Celtics' television broadcasts. Tommy bleeds green and sees everything through green colored glasses. He is part of the longest running broadcast team with Mike Gorman that has been calling Celtics games together for 31 years. Mike is one of the best play by play guys in the league and balances Tommy's color commentary perfectly. Tommy has also written a couple of great books about his experiences as a Celtic: Give 'em the Hook, and Heinsohn, Don't You Ever Smile. They are both fun reads and I recommend them highly for you to put on your reading list. Here is an excerpt from Heinsohn, Don't You Ever Smile just to whet your appetite and as a tribute to Tommy, the author. In this part, Tommy describes his early broadcasting experiences. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Rondo is currently on his Asian tour for the Red Bull King of the Rock in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He posted the above video with the report that he's having a good time in Taiwan. We know that he's a good passer, and now he's getting the chance to show that he's a good catcher. Hopefully he's careful because I remember Larry Bird playing softball in the offseason and messing up his finger pretty seriously while doing so. But, he's also there to meet with young basketball players and work with them in a training session where he encouraged them that there are no shortcuts on the basketball court and that the best way to become a great player is to "keep practicing."
Rondo is also making a stop in the Philippines on August 28 and 29 where he will spend time with young college players of the UAAP and the NCAA in the Red Bull Skills Clinic on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Rondo will lead Red Bull's local court refurbishing project at the San Juan National High School. Let's hope he's also working on his jumper along the way.
I was looking around on YouTube and came across this series of commercials with Kevin Garnett that are fun. I don't really remember them being on TV but then again, I may have been getting a snack at the time. His Anta shoes may be cool, but they don't have fun commercials like this. Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of them to pass the time as I anxiously await Training Camp.
Here is one starring Kevin Garnett, Cherokee Parks, and Tom Gugliotta.
Sometimes there are factors that can affect a player's game in a positive way. One of those factors is a near death experience. There is something about facing your own mortality that forces a person to re-evaluate their life and give them a new lease on life.
In 2000, Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times outside of a Boston nightclub that left him with multiple stab wounds and fighting for his life. Pierce underwent surgery and was told by his doctor that his life was likely spared by the heavy leather jacket that he wore, which softened the blow of the knife. Against all odds, Pierce was back on the court several weeks later and was the only Celtic to play in all 82 games that season. But, the attack left it's mark on him.
He seemed to be a different player after that night. He was more serious in his work ethic, took more responsibility on the team, and seemed to be more free in his play on the court. He was more determined than ever to be the best player that he could be. He said that not knowing if he would live or die put basketball into perspective and it gave him a freedom he didn't have before. The experience made him look at life, the game and everything in his life with a new perspective. He had a second chance and would use it to the best of his ability.
Paul Pierce posted this photo on his facebook page with the title: "#18 Begins in the Off-Season." I don't think it was by accident that he included the plaque on the wall in the photo. It says
What hurts more, The pain of hard work or the pain of regret?
Winning a championship does begin in the offseason. It begins with the moves made by the GM and continues with the work by each player to get himself into the best possible condition for the season to start. Danny did his part and has built a deep team. Now, it's great to see posts like this and tweets like this:
The rookies are working hard. I have no doubt that Pierce and KG are working hard. Jason Terry is all fired up and working hard as are Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox. I'm sure Rondo is working. These guys don't want to have any regrets after this season. Banner 18 is on its way! I can't wait for the season to start!!
The NBA held its annual Rookie Photo Shoot in New York this week. We've shown some of the photos of Celtics rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger. NBA.com surveyed 39 incoming rookies about the best in their class. Players were not allowed to vote for themselves, their NBA teammates or their college teammates.
Most of the results were as expected. 47% of the rookies think that Anthony Davis of the Hornets will be the Rookie of the Year. 40% of the rookies also think he will have the best career of those in this year's rookie class.
There was a 4 way tie at the top for most often overlooked rookie with Draymond Green, Perry Jones, Andrew Nicholson, and Tony Wroten each receiving 8.8 percent of the vote. Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger was listed in those also getting votes.
Fab Melo was tied for 3rd with Jeff Taylor of Charlotte with 8.6 percent of the vote each as the best defender of the rookie class. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Charlotte won this category with 28.6 percent of the votes. Anthony Davis came in second.
Fab was also voted as the funniest rookie by his peers with 22.9% of the votes. See the video below if you have any doubts about this. Jared Sullinger also showed his funny bone in that he received the 4th most votes with 8.6% of the vote. They included this message under the vote totals, which is also pretty funny.
Worth noting: Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Celtics' locker room to see how the rookies' sense of humor goes over with Kevin Garnett.
Celtics.com featured this exclusive interview with Jeff Green.
A few things stood out to me in the interview. He explained a bit why coming back to the Celtics was so important to him. The Celtics were with him throughout the surgery and recovery. He said that the Celtics organization searched for the best doctor and the best clinic to do the surgery and made everything easy for him step by step.
He also said that now he sees things differently and doesn't take things for granted. He said that his outlook on the time he has in the league has changed and he plans to be more assertive. The knock on Green so far in his career is that he wasn't assertive or aggressive enough. He's had the talent and the athleticism, but he wasn't aggressive. Perhaps we will see a new, more aggressive version of Jeff Green this season.
For one thing, he will be playing his natural position for the most part. In OKC, he played power forward and in Boston he will play mostly the 3 to back up Pierce. He'll know the plays and the system this season and he'll be put in a position to succeed. I think that will make all the difference in the world in his performance on the court. He said that he has a lot to prove and I, for one, think he will prove it.
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I can imagine that no one is happier to have Jeff Green's contract finally signed than Jeff Green. He posted the above tweet showing his Celtic Pride and acknowledging the fact that he is finally, officially a Celtic.
The Herald sheds some light on why the deal took so long to become official.
According to sources, there were several reasons for the delay in getting things done.
Green’s representative, David Falk, reported there were issues with the new collective bargaining agreement. But, in general, the parties just found the side issues were more complicated than expected once they agreed on the basic parameters of a four-year deal totaling some $36 million.
Also, according to a player source, there were insurance issues to tackle. Green missed last season after having surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
Doctors have assured the Celtics that Jeff Green is fully healthy and that the surgery he underwent to repair the aortic aneurysm posed less risk to his career than a torn ACL would, apparently there were some hoops that the club had to jump through in order to get the insurance finalized on the deal.
With the announcement that Jeff Green has finally been officially signed, it would seem that Danny's job of re-stocking the Celtics for the next season would be finished. The Celtics have the deepest bench that they have had since the championship season, and maybe even deeper.
Signed, sealed and delivered are Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Keyon Dooling, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, Dionte Christmas, and Jamar Smith. Ray Allen got away, but that may be a blessing in disguise. I'd say that Danny has had quite an offseason. So, Danny's done, right? He wouldn't be Danny if he said he was. From ESPN:
When asked if the Green signing would be the last major deal for the C's this offseason, Ainge said, "I don't know the answer to that. It depends on what opportunities are out there, but I like where we are right now."
I like where we are right now also. Another big man wouldn't be all that bad, but if the bigs we have stay healthy and contribute, we might be ok. But you never know what Danny's going to do. Danny will be Danny, after all ...
Twitter is all a-twitter and Celtics fans are buzzing. Dare we believe that Jeff Green is finally, officially a Celtic after almost 2 months of the deal being "imminent"? Two things point to the possibility that he's finally signed. First, this from Sam Amick:
A bit of free agency housecleaning: The agent for forward Jeff Green, David Falk, told me last night that the four-year deal with Boston worth approximately $36 million should finally be formalized "in the next day or two...We just had some sort of technical and (salary cap) issues that were holding it up. Nothing serious." I'd reported in early July that I was hearing the deal was in the neighborhood of four years, $40 million and it wasn't too far off. So considering he's seen as a key piece of the semi-revamped Boston club, Celtics fans, do you like the addition or is it too pricey considering Jeff's health history?
Now, it would seem that some long awaited event, like the signing of a contract, has finally been accomplished. But, since we haven't gotten any official notice from the Boston media, it could be that a package he was waiting for in the mail came, or his dog was finally housebroken, or his telephone finally started working, or his barber got back from vacation, or any number of things. But, I choose to think that the contract is FINALLY (with 3 exclamation points) done. I'll update if there is any confirmation in the Boston press.
Celtics fans have justly been labeled the best fans in sports. They are. Not only because of their all-weather devotion to the team and franchise, but because their reactions as a body have affected major decisions by both the team and players. I firmly believe that the night during the post-season when fans chanted "Let's Go Celtics" through the last minutes of a game we were 20 points down, management finally realized that to us, loyalty to the team we have and who we cherish can outweigh the importance of winning every game. Not only that, but our support of this group of men through both highs and lows is part of what enabled last season's embattled team to channel their strength and defy the odds again and again and again. And is probably why they – most of them – are still here, and why the one that left took out a full page ad in the globe to show his appreciation of them.
But, as Ray Allen learned this summer, the fans' loyalty (which I affectionately refer to as "The Green Monster") can cut both ways. Historically it has been observed that "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," but more recently I think both Ray Allen and Danny Ainge have had occasion to learn that "Hell REALLY hath no fury like a Celtics fan scorned."
The Celtics two first round rookies participated in the Rookie Photo shoot today and both Fab Melo (13) and Jared Sullinger (7) are looking thinner than they did at Summer League. It would appear that both are sticking to their strength and conditioning program as they are looking good.
Every day, I feel myself pulling for Dionte Christmas more and more. Above is this morning's tweet from Dionte. He's been playing basketball in Philly tournaments this summer and his teams have won both of those tournaments. Dionte was named the MVP of the Rumph Classic tournament. He's also been working hard at Temple with his trainer, Chuck Ellis.
"I go through a heavy routine I go through every day. I work out, just trying to keep my body right, just trying to stay in shape for camp," Christmas explained. "Going into camp, you definitely have to be in shape. I know with our vets, they're not going to have that from the young guys. With [Kevin Garnett], Paul [Pierce], Jason [Terry], [Rajon] Rondo, all those guys, I know they're not really going to have too much slack from the young guys, so we've got to be in tip-top shape and get ready to run with those guys."
And then there's this tweet from his trainer. The rookies just completed the NBA's Rookie Transition Program in New York this week and apparently Dionte is just an all around great guy judging by this tweet.
Big S/o to my man @dchristmas22 for earning MVP of the Rookie Transition Camp. it was no Bball involvd, it dealt wit off da court situations
— Coach Ellis(@Chuck_Ellis) August 21, 2012
Dionte is definitely a guy I'll be pulling for. At 6'5" he has a chance to make the team as a versatile player who can play 3 positions: point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. His eagerness and work ethic and drive will be great to push everyone in camp at those positions to up their game. Everything I hear about this kid makes me really like him and I hope he gets the chance to prove what he can do in camp.
The Boston Celtics have hired Jay Larranaga as an assistant coach, sources tell Y! Larranaga had been head coach of Erie in the D-League.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 21, 2012
Jay Larranaga is the son of legendary George Mason head coach Jim Larranaga, whom Jay also played for at Bowling Green State University from 1993 to 1997. He was a three-time academic All-MAC at Bowling Green State University and graduated as BGSU leader in game, season and career 3 point field goals. He played professionally for 12 years in Italy, Spain, France and Greece from 1997 to 2009. He was captain of the Irish National Team for 5 years from 2001 to 2006 and won a championship in Spain in 2005 and in Italy in 2006 and 2008. Larranaga has also served as the head coach of the Irish national basketball team and assistant coach with the Ukrainian National Team as well as the head coach of the NBA D-League team Erie BayHawks. Over the past two years the Bayhawks had records of 32-18 and 28-22 under Larranaga and lost in the first round of the D-League playoffs both seasons.
In 2011, Erie extended Larranaga's contract for an additional year as he turned down a job offer to join his father, Jim Larranaga, now Miami Hurricanes head coach as an assistant coach. Larranaga is 37 years old, 6'5" tall, and played small forward. I was kind of hoping for a big man's coach but at 6'5", Larranaga isn't it. Hopefully that is still coming.
In other coaching news, former Celtic head coach, Jim O'Brien was hired as an assistant with the Mavericks. We get Jet. They get Obie. Sounds good to me.
A couple days ago I wrote about the original Showtime basketball with Pistol Pete Maravich. Pete is still on my mind these days. I pulled out a tape to watch today from All Star Weekend a few years back when Rondo made his appearance in the H-O-R-S-E contest. (Yep, I'm a dinosaur and still used VCR's and video tape) That brought me back to Pete who was the ultimate H-O-R-S-E player. As you know by now, Pete has always been one of my favorite players. I just finished re-reading the book Pistol and it is an excellent read. It goes back to the very beginnings of the game and how it was shaped into what we watch today, and gives insight into what shaped Pistol Pete Maravich, arguably one of the best players in the game, along with the game of basketball. Pete was so far ahead of his time that he was considered more of a novelty than a serious basketball player.
I was thrilled when he signed with the Celtics after being waived by Utah in 1980. With the Celtics that year, he was in unfamiliar territory as was a role player off the bench and not the headliner for the first time in his career. But, he averaged 11.5 points in 26 games for the Celtics and was still very capable of scoring in bunches when needed. In one game he scored the final 10 points to help the Celtics come from behind to beat the Washington Bullets. After that season, he gave in to the knee problems that had been plaguing him in his final few years and retired. Over the years, I have often thought of how ironic it was that the year after he retired from the Celtics, they won the title. Had he hung on one more season, he would have had that elusive ring he chased his entire career and it would have given his career the validity it deserved.
Even though he had been out of the game for years, his death in 1988 hit me really hard. He was one of my heroes and I felt the world lost something special that had never really been appreciated. He was a showman and he did things on a basketball court people had never seen before and have never seen since but he never got the recognition he deserved in my opinion. I'm happy that he finally found peace in his life that he never found on the court. But there can be no doubt that Pete was the king of the trick shot. Here is a video of Pete playing H-O-R-S-E and I don't think anyone ever beat him at it, or ever could. Enjoy a master at work!
Rajon Rondo is in Lexington, Kentucky this week and he decided to use some of his time to hang out with the University of Kentucky volleyball team. Here are a photo of Rajon talking volleyball and basketball with the team from the UK volleyball team's facebook page. I guess there's a lot of worse things he could do than hang out with a bunch of athletic girls in short shorts.
During Summer League, Dionte Christmas was the talk of Celtics Nation. He played very well, showing range, good defensive skills and the ability to handle the ball. His play in Orlando and Vegas landed him a partially guaranteed contract with the Celtics. Most of us are excited to see him play in the preseason and feel that it would be good to keep him on the team because of the promise he showed in the summer.
Dionte has been playing in a couple of classics and tournaments this summer. First, he led a trio of former Temple players on a team called "Take Your Game To Another Level" to win the Delco Pro-Am title. The tournament took place at Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dionte showed off his 3 point shooting to help his team win the title.
Red's Army reported that Dionte's team, “Show Ya Love,” won the 7th annual Rumph Classic held in Philadelphia. The tournament, named in memory of Danny Rumph who passed away from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy at the age of 21. This is a thickening of the heart muscle that causes sudden cardiac arrest & strikes even the healthiest of victims with no warning. The Rumph Foundation uses the funds raised to provide defibrillators to local rec centers & high schools and also to assist athletes in getting tested for Cardiomyopathy. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Chris Ford on Robert Parish: "I never saw him go inside while he was with Golden State. I always pictured him taking those jumpers from the foul line." Robert Parish on Robert Parish: "I played both the low post and the high post at Golden State. But because I could shoot from the outside, all you heard about was my high-post game. They took a good thing and made it a bad thing by saying, He can only do this one thing.' " Whatever the case, the Celtics never hesitate to dump the ball in to the big fella in the low hole when they want two points.
We have seen many instances of this over the years. Robert Parish was considered lazy and an underachiever in Golden State. They felt that he would never be a good center and couldn't wait to trade him so that they could draft Joe Barry Carroll. Yet Parish became a Hall of Fame player in Boston and helped to lead them to two championships. Dennis Johnson was considerd a troublemaker in Phoenix who couldn't run a team and yet, he became the glue that held the team together in Boston. Steve Nash languished in Phoenix in his first stint there before breaking out in Dallas. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
We know that Brandon Bass is a hard worker and a team player. This offseason, though we've been learning more about Brandon. He's been to China, teaching kids there to play basketball and he's been doing good things in his home town as we reported a week ago. Now, I'm finding out that he's a very good musician as well. First is the video from his Reach Back Week. You get a feel for what he does in the community and a taste of his music as well.
This one, titled Someday, urges you to follow your dreams and traces Brandon's career through college to the NBA draft and the Mavericks to the Magic.
This one is called Change It All and takes us into Brandon's Celtics career.
Jason Terry is already settled in the Boston area and has been providing writers with lots of fodder for their columns. He unveiled his awesome tattoo and has been providing plenty of great quotes and photos for eager Celtics fans who are eating them all up. Today's Globe has another article with more great quotes from Terry about how excited he is for this season.
He loves the tradition and history of the Celtics. He's very excited to play in Doc's system that he says is the way basketball should be played with everyone touching the ball, communicating and screening and moving and playing team ball.
We've seen players come in over the years who struggle with the Celtics defensive system. Terry is already ahead of the curve on that as well.
“That’s a whole other beast,” Terry said. “It all goes back to your system. It’s a team defensive system, and you’re held accountable if you don’t do your job.
“What allows you to be held accountable is it’s a system and so it’s one of the best defensive systems in this league. And the pieces aren’t — I don’t want to say irreplaceable — but you lose Ray, you get me. So it’s like you have system in place and if you have the talent you have a chance to win.
“No question, there’s terminology, there’s ‘are you in the place you’re supposed to be?’ That’s why I started early. Training camp’s not until October and I’m already watching defensive film. I have the offensive clips of where I’m supposed to be, and then I implement it into my workout.”