Celtics

Kemba Walker on Team USA: 'Lot of us are happy those guys pulled out'

Kemba Walker on Team USA: 'Lot of us are happy those guys pulled out'

LAS VEGAS — While many of the biggest names in the NBA passed on the opportunity to play for Team USA this summer, Kemba Walker and his Boston Celtics teammates are thrilled to slide into that spotlight.

"I love basketball. I love to play. And what better opportunity to do that than to play for your country?” Walker said Monday after Team USA’s first day of training camp on the campus of UNLV. 

"This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us. I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out. This is our chance, this is our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talents. It’s a chance for us to do something new, to be a new-look team.”

While this version of Team USA lacks the top-tier star power of past teams, it’s an opportunity for some of the more intriguing young talent in the NBA to assert themselves as the future of the game.

“We have a lot of guys that nobody probably even talks about, even knows,” said Marcus Smart. “We’re able to get our faces shown. … USA Basketball, to me, that’s something that’s really important.”

The Celtics have four players on the training camp roster and there’s hope that they’ll comprise one-third of the 12-man roster that will head overseas for the FIBA World Cup. Smart has said that he hopes that players that participate this year will get the opportunity to represent the team at the 2020 Olympics.

“We’re playing for something greater than ourselves,” said Smart. "We’re going against [other countries] that have been playing together for years, and they’ve already built that camaraderie. We’re taking a group of guys that have probably never even played with one another and … [learning to] act like a team, become a team. It’s not easy. But we know we can do it.”

Walker appreciates that players dropping out has opened the opportunity to play with a bunch of his new teammates. He knows how much it means to players like Smart and Jaylen Brown.

“This is USA Basketball, this is a huge achievement,” said Walker. “It’s a huge honor to be a part of this.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

This Date In Celtics History: Paul Pierce sends Magic packing in East Finals

This Date In Celtics History: Paul Pierce sends Magic packing in East Finals

The Boston Celtics had no intention of returning to Orlando for Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

On this date exactly 10 years ago, Paul Pierce made sure of that.

"The Truth" was an absolute force against the Magic in Game 6 of the East Finals on May 28, 2010, scoring 31 points on 9-of-15 shooting while adding 13 rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

The result: A 96-84 Celtics win at TD Garden that eliminated Orlando and punched Boston's ticket to the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Celtics only have one other victory on this date (they're 2-3 on May 28) but it also came during the Big Three era:

May 28, 2008: Kevin Garnett (33 points) and Ray Allen (29 points) carry the load as Boston edges the Detroit Pistons 106-102 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The C's finish the Pistons off in Game 6 to advance to the Finals.

Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast:

Basketball Hall of Fame's 2020 induction ceremony moved to 2021 due to COVID-19

Basketball Hall of Fame's 2020 induction ceremony moved to 2021 due to COVID-19

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame typically inducts its new class every August, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's ceremony will be pushed back to next year.

The Hall of Fame's board of governors chairman, Jerry Colangelo, confirmed the news to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan.

Here's more from MacMullan: 

Colangelo said the original dates of enshrinement weekend, Aug. 28-30, and the proposed alternate dates of Oct. 10-12, are "just not feasible" in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 in the U.S. and has rendered large gatherings taboo. The board of governors will convene on June 10, he said, to explore spring dates.

Colangelo also noted the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes will have their own induction ceremonies.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

"We won't be combining them," Colangelo told MacMullan. "The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration."

He's definitely right about the 2020 class. It's a particularly special one, mostly because of the NBA legends who were voted to be inducted.

The class is headlined by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant. It's arguably the greatest Hall of Fame class in history, one that includes three of the top 15 to 20 players of all-time who combined to win 11 NBA championships and four league MVP awards.

While it's disappointing that fans will have to wait until next year to see the 2020 class enter the Hall of Fame, delaying the ceremony absolutely is the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved.