Kara Lawson

Celtics add first female assistant, Kara Lawson, who 'want to be the best in the league'

Celtics add first female assistant, Kara Lawson, who 'want to be the best in the league'

BOSTON -- Following a recent Boston Celtics practice, Kara Lawson took a stroll outside the practice facility when a biker recognized her and immediately made a U-turn. 

“I’m not going to do a fake Boston accent. That would be terrible,” Lawson said as she recalled the encounter. “He said, ‘Yo Kara, welcome to Boston! Go Celtics! And he turns his bike around and keeps riding.”

In a sense, it speaks to why Lawson found Boston an ideal fit for her after having had overtures from other teams in the past. 

Because in Boston, as much as the focus will initially be on her being the franchise’s first female assistant coach ever, at the end of the day it is Lawson’s ridiculously loaded body of work that stands out and makes her hiring an excellent one for the Celtics.

When the season ended and the Celtics lost assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry who returned to the college game as an associate head coach at Purdue, the thinking was that Boston needed to add an assistant who could better connect with the players. 

Someone like … Kara Lawson. 

Her basketball resume is full of accomplishments on all levels. 

But it’s the highs and lows she has gone through, maybe more than anything else, that makes her someone who seems an ideal fit for what this coaching staff - and these young players - need right now. 

And that is what she brings to the table that when all is said and done, should be of the greatest benefit to this team. 

“My perspective that I try to bring is, I’ve been there,” Lawson said. “I’ve won a championship. I’ve played almost any role you can possibly play on a team. I’ve been a rookie where I didn’t play a lot. I’ve been a point guard where I started every game and we made it to the conference finals. I’ve been a sixth man more years than I wanted to be. So I can relate to when you get put to that sixth position. And it sucks when you come in everyday and the starters are in green and you are in white. It’s the worst, but you have to deal with it and you gotta be a pro. So, most of the things they experienced emotionally, I have experienced too. I can not just understand,  but I can relate to their ups and downs.”

Even with her qualifications and experience, it’ll take some folks - not Celtics fans like the biker dude she crossed paths with recently - some time to get past the fact that she is the first female assistant coach in the franchise’s history.

“My mindset is being the first to do something is great; I want to be the best,” Lawson said. “I don’t want to be the best of my gender. I want to be the best in the league.”

It doesn’t take long to see that Lawson is no different than any other assistant coach in this league whose aspirations are to continue to get better, one day at a time. 

And like most assistants, she’s not exactly twiddling her fingers patiently waiting for things to happen. 

One of the first adjustments for Lawson has been learning the Celtics terminology. 

“It’ll come,” she said. “But I’m not very patient. I want it to hurry up.”

Because when all is said and done, it is how well she does her job - regardless of gender - that will ultimately determine her success.

“I don’t want every time someone talks about me, I don’t want it to be about my gender; at least when it comes in the confines of a competitive environment,” Lawson said. “Obviously from the outside, a societal standpoint, that’s going to happen. It’s unusual still. Hopefully it won’t be unusual down the road.”

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Celtics officially add three new coaches, including Kara Lawson, to their staff

Celtics officially add three new coaches, including Kara Lawson, to their staff

The Boston Celtics have officially hired three new members to be a part of their coaching staff. Per an official press release distributed by the team, they have added Kara Lawson, Brandon Bailey, and Joe Mazzulla to Brad Stevens' staff ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season.

The biggest hire of the bunch is Lawson. The former WNBA star becomes the first female coach in Celtics' 73-year history. She played 337 games over the course of 12 years in the WNBA and averaged 9.8 points on 39 percent shooting from behind the arc. She also earned a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Most recently, Lawson had served as the color commentator for NBC Sports Washington's coverage of the Washington Wizards and also spent time with ESPN. But now, she will have a chance to coach at the NBA level.

Bailey rejoins the Celtics after getting some head coaching experience with the Maine Red Claws. Bailey has been the head coach in Maine since October of 2017 and logged a 36-64 record in two seasons in that role. Prior to that, he had served as a video coordinator for the Celtics for six years.

Mazzulla is also returning to the Celtics' organization after serving as the head coach at Fairmount State University for two seasons. During that time, the former Red Claws assistant logged an impressive 43-17 record as a head coach. He also was a solid player during his time at West Virginia (2006-2011) where he learned under current Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, John Beilein, and current West Virginia head coach, Bob Huggins.

These changes could bring some extra energy to the Celtics' coaching staff. We'll soon see how the new hires pan out as they begin working with the Celtics during the coming weeks.

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