Celtics

Celtics Talk Podcast: Why Donnie Wahlberg thinks NBA returning with no fans could be 'fascinating'

Celtics Talk Podcast: Why Donnie Wahlberg thinks NBA returning with no fans could be 'fascinating'

It’s not unusual to see Dorchester’s own Donnie Wahlberg sitting courtside at a Boston Celtics game chatting up Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Grant Williams during a stoppage of play. 

But while the game is going on, Wahlberg can hear it all — the smack talk, the plays being called out by the coaches and, yes, a few mature-audience-only exchanges between players. 

And here’s the thing: When the NBA returns, it’ll likely be without fans.

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But Wahlberg can envision how all of those interactions he normally has access to when attending games could be part of the NBA's “new normal” fan experience. 

“If we can feel more a part of the game as opposed to we need the crowd to cheer and get momentum that way but actually be and feel like we’re part of what’s happening on the floor, I think that could be fascinating,” Wahlberg said on the Celtics Talk Podcast, “and really something to see.”

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Wahlberg cites ESPN's 10-part documentary “The Last Dance” as an example of how engaging those on-the-floor exchanges can be for fans if they can’t attend games upon the league’s return to action. 

“We’ve all been lucky to watch 'The Last Dance' during this quarantine,” Wahlberg said. “One of the best parts of it to watch is the practices, the Dream Team games and all the trash talking and all that stuff. I get to go to games and I sit courtside. The best part of it, is not necessarily that I could say 'Hi' to a player…

What's cool about courtside is you can hear things. You can hear a coach drawing up a play. You can hear Marcus Smart saying, ‘You gotta watch out for this.’ You can hear the guys communicating and talking. And, as we see in 'The Last Dance,' you can hear them talking trash.

With no fan noise, TV broadcasts could make it a lot easier for those moments to be captured. 

“If we could do that with NBA games, I would love to hear what LeBron is saying after Jayson Tatum dunked on him a couple years ago,” Wahlberg said. “I would love to hear that. So if there’s a way to make it more of that, I think it not only could work, it could make it better, something that [could be] a treat that we may want more of in the future.”

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast or watch it on YouTube below.

 

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.


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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.