Celtics

Celtics tweak L.A. itinerary to allow players to attend Kobe Bryant memorial

Celtics tweak L.A. itinerary to allow players to attend Kobe Bryant memorial

Kobe Bryant's death deeply affected several members of the Boston Celtics.

Thanks to some advance planning, they'll be able to pay their respects to the Los Angeles Lakers legend if they wish.

The Celtics, who play the Lakers on Feb. 23, have moved their midday flight out of Los Angeles on Feb. 24 to later in the afternoon to accommodate any players or staffers who want to attend Bryant's memorial service, per The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach.

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The service for Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who were among nine killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash outside L.A., begins at 10 a.m. local time at Staples Center.

Boston plays in Portland against the Trail Blazers the following day (Feb. 25) as part of a four-game road trip out of the NBA All-Star break.

"I knew we’d have a number of guys that might want to go to the memorial," head coach Brad Stevens told Himmelsbach. "It’ll be completely up to them, but we wanted to give us that flexibility and that option. Staff and players will all be able to go if they want to."

Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who idolized Bryant and worked out with the Lakers legend this past offseason, indicated he plans to attend the memorial.

It's unclear who will join Tatum, but it's a good move by the Celtics to at least allow their members to attend the service considering they'll already be in the city.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Clippers-Celtics, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Some consider the 1986 Boston Celtics one of the greatest NBA teams of all time.

Here's your chance to watch them finish off that historic season.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which brought you Kemba Walker's 32-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday -- rolls on Friday with Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Houston Rockets.

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The Rockets took Game 5 in Houston to send the series back to Boston, but they weren't prepared for Larry Bird, whose magnificent performance in Game 6 (29 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) helped the C's earn a 114-97 win and clinch their 16th NBA championship.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Rockets airs Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and if watching Bird at the height of his powers wasn't entertaining enough, former Celtics center Bill Walton will join Brian Scalabrine throughout the night to provide color commentary.

Here's when and how to watch:

When: Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast:

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

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WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below: