Enes Kanter inspired as Celtics organization rallies together to drive change

Enes Kanter inspired as Celtics organization rallies together to drive change

Enes Kanter said he’s proud to be a member of the Boston Celtics after watching the way that every level of the organization has responded this week while trying to combat racial injustices.

Kanter was one of at least four teammates to participate in peaceful protests last weekend and said the Celtics held a powerful Zoom meeting Wednesday where players, coaches, and ownership all expressed a desire to drive change.

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“This is not about white against black. This is about all of us, everyone against racism. Just to make this clear,” said Kanter, who made a 20-hour drive from Chicago to join peaceful protests in Boston on Sunday. "I just came to my city, to be with my people. I got inspired a lot.

"I got inspired a lot by Jaylen Brown. It just shows how good of a leader he is … what kind of character he has. Not just him but Marcus Smart and, not many people talked about it, but Vincent [Poirier] went out there. We had a conversation [Wednesday] night and, [Thursday], so many players texted me and said, ‘Hey are we going [to protest] again?’ That shows a lot about what kind of teammates we have. You’re proud to be a Celtic, man.”

Kanter said that Wednesday’s Zoom meeting featured impassioned conversation that included owner Wyc Grousbeck, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, coach Brad Stevens and his staff, and players.

“You could see why this is like one of the best organizations in the league. You can see the leaders,” said Kanter. “It was just amazing to see from the older guys to the younger guys, from the rookies to the owners, the coaches, everyone stepped up and said, ‘What can we do? What should we do to bring more awareness?’"

In the aftermath, Ainge posted a message on Twitter noting, “I’m so proud to be associated with [Celtics players] in our shared quest for positive change.” On Thursday, both Grousbeck and Stevens posted video messages on social media with a goal of driving change.

"I saw [Thursday] that Wyc posted a video out there and I’m like, ‘This is my owner, man. That’s my owner.’ You’re just proud to be a Celtic,” said Kanter. "We have 30 [NBA] teams, right? How many owners stepped up? I see [Mavericks owner Marc] Cuban and Wyc, that’s it. I have not seen anyone stepping up and talking about this.”

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Stevens said earlier this week that he labored over a letter to players last weekend trying to express his desire to help them in their quest for change.

"Your coach is your leader, right? Coming from him, it definitely meant a lot to all of us,” said Kanter. "Brad’s a special guy, man. Brad makes a difference. This is like a big family and Brad is obviously like the dad, I would say. I look at my teammates like my brothers and Brad is like the dad. It’s a huge big family.

Everyone cares about each other, everyone respects each other. I’m learning a lot from Brad. I’m learning about being a good leader, being a good person, and that’s what makes him different, man. The whole world knows he’s a good coach. He’s a very smart coach, he knows the game of basketball. But the difference is his character. He cares about the world. He cares about the players, not just on the court but off the court, too.

Kanter, who has spent recent years passionately fighting for human rights in his native Turkey, said his conversations with teammates this week have left him emotional.

"I know what it’s like to fight for freedom and justice,” said Kanter. "There’s only one race and it’s the human race. I’ve said this before in many many interviews: It doesn’t matter what your religion is, what your skin color is, what your race is, whatever you are — the most important thing in life is leaving your differences on the table and trying to find what we have in common.

"I learned a lot this week. I learned a lot from Jaylen, I learned a lot from Celtics … We need to fight for each other, we need to fight for good.”

Jaylen Brown drills two half-court shots in awesome Celtics practice video

Jaylen Brown drills two half-court shots in awesome Celtics practice video

Jaylen Brown recently deactivated his Instagram account to focus on basketball.

It appears that plan is working.

The Celtics held their second practice as a team Saturday since entering the NBA "bubble" at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, and according to the team's social media, Brown was the star of the show.

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Here's a terrific 40-second clip of the Celtics wing sinking not one but two half-court shots before celebrating with what we'll call a cartwheel:

Brown gleefully said, "I got my money" after hitting the first shot, but his opponent -- our guess is that's point guard Kemba Walker -- matched him, leading the 23-year-old to knock down another shot and send his teammates into a frenzy.

Who said there's no fun in the bubble?

The NBA's Twitter account posted another angle of one of Brown's makes in addition to footage of big men Tacko Fall and Enes Kanter getting their work in.

The Celtics have two weeks to shake off the rust before their restarted 2019-20 season begins with a July 31 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston currently is the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, but some believe the C's have a legitimate shot to contend for an NBA title this summer.

If that's the case, the Celtics will need Brown -- who was averaging a career-high 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds before the season was paused -- to display more of the talent he flashed Saturday on the practice court.

Jayson Tatum shouts out Celtics' Kara Lawson for landing Duke head coach job

Jayson Tatum shouts out Celtics' Kara Lawson for landing Duke head coach job

Kara Lawson is pulling a reverse Jayson Tatum.

The Duke women's basketball team announced Saturday it has named Lawson its new head coach, meaning she'll leave her role as a Boston Celtics assistant coach after this season to join the Blue Devils.

The Celtics will be sad to see Lawson go after her lone season as the first female assistant coach in franchise history. But Tatum, who starred at Duke before coming to Boston, approves of her next gig.

From one Tatum "family" to another.

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Lawson technically leaves behind two Duke alumni, as Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye played two seasons for the Blue Devils from 2013 to 2015 before transferring to SMU.

Tatum is a proud supporter of his alma mater -- where he spent just one season in 2016-17 before the Celtics drafted him No. 3 overall -- so his excitement for Lawson is understandable.

Tatum also will be hoping Lawson can help the Blue Devils back on track after they failed to reach the NCAA Tournament last season for just the second time in 25 years.