It's Tacko Time, all the time during NBA All-Star weekend

It's Tacko Time, all the time during NBA All-Star weekend

CHICAGO -- Hundreds of folks scattered throughout a cavernous room at the Navy Pier, had one thing in mind - to see Tacko Fall. 

Tacko, all 7-foot-5 (without shoes) of him, wasn’t hard to miss. 

Wherever he went during All-Star weekend, attention on him wasn’t too far behind. 

Tacko did not log a single minute of play during All-Star weekend, and yet Tacko, much like what happens in New England with the Boston Celtics and the Maine Red Claws, was the center of everyone’s attention. 

But during All-Star weekend, it’s different. 

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Here, Tacko is surrounded by some of the greatest basketball players of the past and present, players who have been stars for decades in some instances. 

Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. waged one of the all-time great slam dunk contests, and all the talk afterward was how Gordon got robbed after he successfully dunked over Tacko. 

Before that, Tacko was a counselor with Basketball Without Borders. 

Upon entering the gym, some of the best teenage basketball talent internationally went through drills with Tacko around the rim, many of whom tried to dunk on Tacko instead of laying up shots. 

“It’s the most I’ve been dunked on in my career,” quipped Tacko. “But in a few years, hopefully a lot of them will make it to the NBA. We’ll see.”

When he arrived at the various All-Star weekend events, at times draped by repeat All-Stars like Kemba Walker, it was Tacko who received the loudest, unprompted ovation from fans. 

It was Tacko Time on the grandest stage of them all during the NBA season. 

While his height is certainly a factor in the adulation he receives, Tacko has won folks over with his gentle-giant demeanor, balanced with the overpowering presence that you expect from a player his size, with an almost child-like innocence to the demand that so many have these days of trying to get a little Tacko Time. 

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During an interview with NBC Sports Boston after he participated in a cooking show exhibition, he was relayed a request to meet up with former Celtic Rick Fox. 

“Yeah, sure,” Fall responded as he quickly ducked to best ensure he didn’t hit his head against a concrete structure. 

You can count Fox among the legion of fans who are caught up in Tacko-mania. 

“At the end of the day, it’s entertainment, right?” Fox told NBC Sports Boston. “We want fans to love what we do. We want to enjoy what we do. Tacko has endeared himself to not just Celtics fans but the NBA at large.”

And he has done it in atypical fashion when it comes to NBA fandom. 

Most fans jump on board after watching a player display skills on the floor that set them apart from the masses. 

Tacko’s fandom is largely based on his personality and how he has connected with fans even though he has not played much in the NBA. 

In fact, Tacko has played a total of six NBA games in this, his rookie season. 

And yet when the final fan votes were tallied for the All-Star game, Tacko finished sixth among all frontcourt players in the East - one spot behind his Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum. 

“Everybody loves Tacko,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston. “Who doesn’t love Tacko?”

He’s right. 

But as much as Tacko appreciates the attention he has received from fans, he knows that ultimately it will be his play that determines his future in the NBA. 

That’s why there was a sense of relief on Tacko’s part when he didn’t move up into one of the top two spots among all-star voters which meant he would have been a starter in tonight’s game. 

“I was scared. It’s all fun and games and I was very appreciative of it,” Tacko said. “At the same time, there are so many people that deserve to be there. Just imagine if I were to go … I would not have felt good about that.”

Being an All-Star is something that’s not on Tacko’s radar now. 

First and foremost, he’s looking to take the next logical step which for him, will be to have his two-way contract with the Celtics converted to standard, 15-man roster deal. 

While it’s certainly something that Tacko’s camp and the Celtics will discuss during the off-season, whether a new deal gets done won’t change the fact that right now, it’s Tacko Time wherever Tacko Fall goes. 

And new deal or not, that’s not changing anytime soon. 

Classic Celtics: Kemba Walker helps C's mount huge comeback vs. Bucks

Classic Celtics: Kemba Walker helps C's mount huge comeback vs. Bucks

Here's how much time flies: It was only about five months ago that Boston Celtics fans were really introduced to Kemba Walker.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series (which featured Boston's 1986 playoff thriller against Michael Jordan's Bulls on Sunday) rolls on Wednesday with Walker's fourth game as a Celtic -- and it was an awesome one.

That Oct. 30, 2019, contest against the Bucks saw Walker drop 32 points in his second game at TD Garden, helping the Celtics storm back from a 19-point deficit to win 116-105 and hand Milwaukee one of its 12 losses on the season.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Bucks begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, and longtime Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman will join Brian Scalabrine at points throughout the game to reminisce about Walker's epic performance.

Other reasons to watch:

- Walker scoring 13 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as Boston rallied late to stun the Bucks.

- Jayson Tatum hitting a clutch 3-pointer late in the game -- and earning a high five from C's legend Paul Pierce on the sideline.

- Giannis Antetokounmpo racking up 22 points and 14 rebounds, but Boston admirably holding the Bucks star in check during the second half.

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Report: NBA to launch 16-team 2K tournament

Report: NBA to launch 16-team 2K tournament

It looks like Esports' time to shine is finally here.

With all the major sports leagues on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has come up with a creative solution to create some new basketball-based programming.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the league will be hosting a players-only NBA 2K tournament beginning Friday that will air on a major network. Haynes is reporting that the tournament will feature 16 NBA players and will take place over the course of 10 days.

This is a good way for the league to create some new basketball-related excitement with the season currently suspended. It will certainly be fun to see how players who are so good on the basketball court can fare in the realm of basketball video games.

It's unclear if a member of the Boston Celtics will be involved in the tournament, but it certainly is possible. The ideal Celtic to be featured would be Gordon Hayward, as he's an avid gamer and would almost certainly be able to lead the 2K Celtics to some victories.

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If Hayward isn't the choice, Grant Williams would be another logical option. He disclosed to NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely that he loves playing video games on an episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast shortly after he was drafted.

No matter what, it will be entertaining to watch NBA players square off against each other again, even if no Celtics are involved in the 2K tournament.

Speaking of 2K action, be sure to check out our latest Celtics simulation. The 2K-C's took on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night as they looked to keep their winning streak alive.