BOSTON - When it comes to tradition, the Boston Celtics are richer than arguably any team in the NBA.
You can go back 30, 40, or even 50-plus years and see how successful the organization has been.
And in fact, the Celtics are doing just that, honoring members of the 1965-66, 1975-76, and 1985-86 teams this season - and tonight, specifically, at halftime. (By the way, Rich Levine has done a hell of a job looking back at the 1985-86 season.)
The organization held an event on Tuesday honoring those players as well, and that's why many of them are in town for tonight's game. Players like Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Tommy Heinsohn Dave Cowens, Paul Silas, Kevin McHale, Chris Ford, and many, many more players, coaches, and executives were all celebrated and recognized at a celebratory dinner at the Liberty Hotel up the street from the TD Garden in Boston.
And some of them spent time at the Celtics' practice facility in Waltham yesterday as well, bridging a gap of more than 50 years of basketball.
"A good number of those guys were at practice yesterday and so our guys know [about the Celtics tradition]," Brad Stevens said. "And our guys are well aware of how lucky we all are to be a part of this organization. They all walk over and spend time and pick their brains and just enjoyed being in the presence of those guys. Certainly, nobody enjoys it more than I do and I’m still in awe of the fact that some of the people that will be here tonight, those are people that, when you think of basketball, those are the names that are associated with basketball. It’s pretty impressive."
Evan Turner, somebody who Stevens has said on multiple occasions just simply loves the game, was one of those players who really took advantage of the legends being at practice.
"That was cool. It was definitely cool," Turner said. "You never take that for granted. Even as a kid, I heard a lot about those guys and to be able to see them in person, they feel the need -- to be important enough to not only come back in to town, but also visit us is definitely cool. I definitely appreciate that.
Turner spent time with Celtics and NBA legend John Havlicek, an eight-time NBA champion, and like Turner, an Ohio State Buckeye. He also spoke with Charles Scott, a member of the 1975-76 Celtics championship team. Turner played with Scott's son, Shannon, at Ohio State.
"I always loved Hondo," Turner said. "Just watching his highlights and stuff like that, I just thought he was a great player and at the Ohio State he was a big deal."
The 2015-16 Celtics have been a fun bunch to watch, and perhaps being around so many winners can rub off on them as they ready for what they hope is a long playoff run.
And who knows, maybe it'll be long enough that Turner will be back in Boston 30 years from now for his own team's celebration.