Celtics

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 Talk Podcast: Difference between Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker apparent in recent press conferences

Celtics Talk Podcast: Difference between Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker apparent in recent press conferences

The 2019 NBA offseason has ensured that Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker will always be connected. When Irving spurned the Celtics after two seasons with the team to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Walker joined the C's and took over as their starting point guard.

The two players are similarly great scorers. They can pass the ball well and set up teammates, too. And while Irving is regarded by many as the better player in terms of skill set, there are some intangible things that Walker brings to the floor and Irving doesn't: leadership and chemistry.

And Irving and Walker's recent postgame comments after losses demonstrate that.

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On the latest episode of The Celtics Talk Podcast, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely were discussing the recent postgame interviews that the two did after rough outings and bad losses for their respective squads.

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Irving was far more focused on improving the team around him as opposed to his own poor performance. And as Blakely pointed out, it speaks to one of Irving's weaknesses as a leader.

Kyrie has yet to figure out how to make those around him better so that he can be a better winner. He is a great player. He's one of the best players in the NBA. There's absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

But he has yet to figure out how to elevate the players around him or carry himself with a level of humility that will ingratiate himself to his teammates who may not be as good as he is, but want to be great players nonetheless.

And Blakely also had one epic mic-drop moment about the former Celtic on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight."

This completely juxtaposes Blakely's thoughts on Walker, who focused more on his poor performance and how he needs to play better for the sake of the team.

Kemba, flip-side of that, he didn't play great against Detroit. Was he the worst player? In the conversation, but he didn't play bad enough to where he was clear and undeniably the worst player on the floor.

And yet all he talked about in postgame was how he's got to be better. He's got to do a better job leading. It was me, me, me for the team, team, team. And that's something that you never hear from Kyrie.

Both Blakely and Draper acknowledged that they don't always like comparing the two to each other. But in this circumstance where their postgame pressers from similar games were polar opposites, they thought it had to be done.

It just about sums up why many Boston fans were happy to see Irving walk in the offseason. And Walker's positive attitude and ability to generate team chemistry has certainly been a breath of fresh air for the Celtics faithful.

For more on the Celtics game against the Bucks, their recent skid, expectations moving forward, and potential All-Stars from the team, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, which drops weekly as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Suns-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Did C's fool us into thinking they're better than they are?

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Did C's fool us into thinking they're better than they are?

The Celtics have gone 17-12 since a 10-1 start. They're 4-5 in the new year and, after losing in Milwaukee on Thursday night, Boston is 7-8 against teams .500 or better.

On the latest Celtics Talk Podcast, it led Kyle Draper to ask our Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely, the inevitable question, Did a hot start make fans believe this team was better than it actually is?

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

"We had the cookies on the bottom shelf in terms of expectations," was Blakely's response. "If they just did anything else other than get their heads handed to them early on [to start the season], we're like, hey, they're pretty good."

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What's behind the recent slide that seen the C's lose five of their past seven? Blakely says it's the defense. 

"When you really start looking at what's happening lately, that defense is getting exposed," Blakely said. "[Enes] Kanter has had a great season, but the law of averages says he's going to go through a stretch where he's just not going to get it done. Look at Jaylen Brown, he's had a great season, so has [Jayson] Tatum, but they're going to go through stretches where they're not getting it done. 

"The defense is not making the plays they need to that's why teams are shooting high 50's low 60's [percent] against them." 

Draper and Blakely also touch on the loss in Milwaukee and if the C's have enough to compete with the best in the East, another up-and-down season for Gordon Hayward ("We have been on this ride before," said Blakely. "Gordon [will] go out and has an 8-for-10 game. And people are going to be like, In Danny [Ainge] we trust, Gordon's great..."), Kyrie Irving's recent comments on his Nets teammates and more in the podcast, part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Suns-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.