BOSTON -- Some of the closest bonds you’ll find among NBA players began on a playground.
If it works for them, why not coaches too?
That was indeed the get-to-know-you spot for Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens (then a head coach at Butler) and Frank Vogel, head coach of the Indiana Pacers.
But their roles at the park were parental, not player-watching.
“We were both just dads watching our kids,” said Stevens, who added that they lived about a mile apart. “That’s how I got to know Frank.”
A chance to catch up with his good friend is among the many reasons why Stevens, born in Indianapolis, is looking forward to Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“It’s always great to be back,” he said. “Certainly every time I go, I have a little less on my plate. Probably go out to dinner with a few friends, that’s it; visit a couple of people right when I get there.”
Among those he’ll make some time for will be Vogel.
Although the dynamics of their relationship have changed somewhat since Stevens made the jump to the NBA, he says Vogel was among those who helped make the transition to the NBA coaching ranks a relatively smooth one.
“Now that I’ve been in the NBA he has been really helpful in helping me, whether it be go out to dinner and talk about different experiences that he’s had or reflecting back on his time with the Celtics,” said Stevens, referring to when Vogel was a Celtics video coordinator. “He’s been great.”
Stevens remembers those times in the park, most of which were moments filled with him peppering Vogel with one question after another.
“I was just a college coach, trying to pick his brain, probably driving him nuts. He’s probably lost his daughters a couple of times because I wouldn’t shut up,” quipped Stevens.
There will certainly be time to joke, laugh and have some jovial moments.
But Stevens is absolutely crystal clear on what the objective is Wednesday night, regardless of how chummy he may be with the opposing team’s head coach.
“We got a game and I got a job,” Stevens said. “We’ll be focused on that.”