Basketball not the focus now for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens

Basketball not the focus now for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens finished up a PowerPoint presentation Friday morning, not on basketball, but on the coronavirus pandemic facing our nation and all the way people can help give back in these uncertain times.

Stevens planned to show the slideshow to both his staff and his children on Friday and noted that basketball isn’t his focus at the moment.

“My thoughts are with everybody who’s really facing this thing. You feel so bad,” said Stevens. "I was just putting together a PowerPoint today to show our kids today where this is nationally, where this is locally in the New England region, and all the ways people are helping and doing their part as we’re kind of sitting in our own little bubble being self-quarantined and isolated.”

Later, Stevens added, "I just don’t think it’s appropriate right now to be hammering basketball with our guys.”

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Stevens sounded uncertain about when everyone’s attention might be able to shift back to basketball.

"Some of that stuff is being brainstormed and bantered about at a 10,000-foot view. I'm sure we will dial into details of that when some possible scenarios become more clear,” said Stevens. "You turn on the TV and there's different viewpoints of how long this thing is going to take. Anybody that is speaking scientifically, or from a math point of view, says it's going to take awhile.

"You see the schools are closed here until May 4, you see all the stay-at-home adversaries around the country — I think there is a lot to determine and I don't think you can determine any of [a return to NBA plans] until you have a timeline and it's just almost impossible to get a timeline right now.”

Stevens admitted he’s enjoyed getting to spend more time with his kids — Brady, 14, and Kinsley, 10 — but wants them to appreciate what others are doing to combat this virus.

"They are learning how to use Zoom and do distance learning, and find a way to stay connected to their friends through the incredible amount of technology that we still have,” said Stevens. "I think that we all have to be able to, as parents, look at it and say, 'OK, this is how we provide comfort in these times.’

"I want my kids to know that the people driving by our house, or you see on TV, that are wearing medical equipment, this is real and it's real every minute of every day, and we need to do what we can to help them, and as a community be there for them.”

Stevens said he organized a couple of Zoom conferences with Celtics players this week and joked that Marcus Smart booted the coaches so that players could talk amongst themselves during one session.

Stevens noted that he used the initial downtime to do a bit of self-assessment that he might typically reserve for after the basketball season.

“What I’ve done is I’ve gone through here, while I’ve been at home, all of my typical postseason evaluations,” said Stevens. "Usually I wait until after the playoffs are over or after the season ends and do a series of film studies and those types of things, and stat studies and individual studies and those. But I’m actually knocking those out now in hopes that it helps us in what we need to do should we be able to resume play, and what we need to focus on when we get back to practice.

"It would be a unique situation to be off for as long as we’re going to be off to have to re-acclimate and re-condition. But you do already have a system in with those 15 guys and so it’s really an interesting thing because usually you have five back or six back or whatever when you go to a training-camp scenario. I’m sure everybody’s looking at different things and tweaks and things that were really good for them when they reviewed and analyzed their team and things that weren’t as good. And then other than that, just working on things I think will be applicable if we get back together.”

At the end of the call, a reporter playfully asked if Stevens has used any of his coaches’ challenges at home.

"That's a good question. If I would, you know it would be unsuccessful, and if it was unsuccessful, it would mean I would lose a timeout, which would mean more time on the video games, which would not be good,” said Stevens. "So I'm not going to use them. I already know the outcome. I would have to call [assistant coach and replay monitor] Matt Reynolds and ask him if it is OK."

Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier join Celtics' Marcus Smart at Boston protest

AP Images

Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier join Celtics' Marcus Smart at Boston protest

Marcus Smart made his voice heard Sunday in Boston, joining a peaceful protest through the city's streets following George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer last Monday.

But Smart wasn't alone among his Celtics teammates, as Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier also participated in Sunday's protest.

Wearing his No. 11 Celtics jersey, Kanter made a brief speech to a crowd of protesters to thank them for their support and call for further change.

"First of all, I want to thank you all for what you're doing," Kanter said in the video, via WCVB-TV Boston. "I really, really appreciate it. The second thing I want to say, man; we need change and change cannot wait, you know? 

"I get emotional, but we are on the right side of history, man. You know what? Black lives matter, right? Let's go."

Kanter also participated in a chant of "I Can't Breathe," words Floyd spoke Monday as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, ultimately killing him.

Kanter has a history of speaking out against injustices; the Turkish national has been highly critical of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and had his passport revoked by the country in 2017.

Poirier, a native of France, also posted a pair of videos that appeared to show him walking with protesters.

The Celtics' organization appeared to support Smart, Kanter, Poirier and Jaylen Brown -- who drove to Atlanta on Saturday to participate in a protest in his home state -- via a statement Sunday night emphasizing the need to "lead through our actions."

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Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

File photo

Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

Just as his Boston Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown did Saturday in Atlanta, Marcus Smart participated in a peaceful protest Sunday in Boston in the wake of George Floyd's death.

The C's guard was joined by teammate Vincent Poirier and countless others to protest the racial injustices that remain prevalent in the United States of America. Smart talked to NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely and delivered a message capturing why he and so many others are letting their voices be heard.

"We wanted to come out here and let our voice be heard because we stand for the truth, and we stand for justice," Smart told Blakely. "And we won't stop until we get justice. That's really what this is about.

"I just want to say to everyone who thinks this is something more than it is, it's not. Despite color and gender, the truth is the truth, justice is justice, and justice hasn't been served. And people are pissed off about it, so we're here to keep George Floyd's name alive and keep it going and his legacy. Something has to change, and we're here to try to make a change."

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Smart also tweeted out the following message on Sunday:

Smart, Brown, Poirier, and the other high-profile individuals using their platform to peacefully send their message deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their leadership. There's no doubt they're making the Celtics, the city of Boston, and the rest of the country proud.