Crawford a 'big brother' and 'role model' to Bradley, Thomas


Crawford a 'big brother' and 'role model' to Bradley, Thomas

Jamal Crawford had no idea what was just a simple act of giving back, would have such a profound impact several years later.

A bunch of high schools were at a state fair and like many high school kids then (and now), they didn’t have money.

Crawford, then a seven-figure baller in the NBA, took a picture with the youngsters.

When he asked them about getting on rides, they said they didn't have any money.

Without prompting, Crawford pulled out some cash and gave them all money to play games.

One of those kids was Avery Bradley who reminded the 36-year-old Crawford of that encounter several years later.

“He didn’t even know I was that kid that he gave money to,” Bradley told reporters on Monday. “I told him the story. He was like ‘No way, that was you?’ It’s a funny story we have between us now, connection we’ll always have.”

For those who know Crawford, this away-from-the-limelight act of charity was not all that unusual.

Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who is also from Tacoma, Wash., and he has a strong connection to Crawford that was strengthened when Thomas attended prep school at South Kent School in Kent, Conn. while Crawford was playing with the New York Knicks.

“When I was in prep school, I was across the country, I was far away from family and friends,” Thomas said. “(Crawford) was my only family. He was the guy that took me under his wing. Every weekend he would let me take the train to his house. I’d be at the (Madison Square) Garden watching Knicks games.

Thomas added, “He’s done a lot for me. I can’t explain it all.”

That is why tonight’s game against Crawford and the Los Angeles Clippers in so many ways has become more than just another game for Bradley and Thomas.

While the story lines involving ex-Celtics coach Doc Rivers and former Celtics Paul Pierce and Jeff Green will certainly generate discussion, the bond between the Tacoma, Wash. tandem and Crawford is just as significant.

“I’m so proud of those guys,” Crawford told CSNNE.com recently. "I've been around a long time to watch these guys, mentor and still be out here going strong. It's a great thing."

Crawford added, "They’ve put in the work, paid their dues and all that hard work and time they put in to become better players, better people, is paying off for them now. I'm proud of my young guys.”

And while Crawford is quick to praise them for what they’ve done to get to the NBA, both Bradley and Thomas see Crawford as the one player that really gave them hope – real hope – that they too could someday be an NBA player.

“He’s just a really good guy,” Bradley said. “You ask any young kid in Seattle who their favorite player is, even around my age they would have said Jamal Crawford growing up. He gives back to the community. He’s a perfect role model.”

Thomas added, “He’s meant the world to me. Without him and guys like (former Celtic) Jason Terry, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now. He’s a big brother to me, someone I talk to every day for like the last 10 years.”

But even before prep school, college and the NBA, Thomas said Crawford was someone he always looked up to.

“He’s the guy everybody looks up to,” Thomas said. “He’s the guy everybody wanted to be like. He’s a great basketball player but if you get to know him, he’s an even better person.”

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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