Celtics

Kemba Walker's first message to Celtics fans hits all the right notes

Kemba Walker's first message to Celtics fans hits all the right notes

Boston Celtics fans understandably want a fresh start after a season of tumult and disappointment.

It sounds like Kemba Walker is ready to give it to them.

The All-Star guard, who officially agreed to a free-agent contract with Boston on Sunday night, spoke directly to Celtics fans Monday morning in an article for The Players' Tribune titled, "Boston, Let's Do This."

"I'm more of the quiet type," Walker wrote, before adding a line C's fans will appreciate:

I’m a leader in my own way. I’m never going to shout anyone off the court, or get overly negative. It’s not my style. But what I do is I take pride in making my teammates better — I’m that lead by example type. I like to keep it direct.

In other words, Walker seems determined not to follow in the footsteps of Kyrie Irving, whose struggles to mesh with Boston's roster led to an acrimonious departure to the Brooklyn Nets.

Walker -- whose article included a lengthy, heartfelt thanks to the Charlotte Hornets -- also mentioned a desire to constantly improve and insisted the C's are "going to be fun to watch" this season with him in the mix.

The 29-year-old guard, who led the 2011 UConn Huskies to an NCAA title, then finished with this:

I’m a winner. I’ve always been a winner. ... And when I think about my future with this team, and how I’m now going to be playing for the Celtics….. I mean, that’s why I feel like it’s a match made in heaven.

I want to win here, badly — and I’m excited to prove myself as that type of player in this league. I want to elevate myself into that Boston winning tradition. I want to get this team back on top.

Outside Walker's addition, it's been a frustrating offseason for the Celtics, who whiffed on Anthony Davis and watched Al Horford depart alongside Irving in free agency.

But Walker is hitting all the right notes and seems committed to making the C's a title contender once again.

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Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat live stream: Watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will clash at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night in a matchup of Eastern Conference powers.

These are two of the five teams jockeying for playoff position from the No. 2 seed down to the No. 6 seed. The five teams in this range of the East standings are separated by only 2.5 games. The Heat are in a second-place tie with the Toronto Raptors at 32-14, while the C's are in fourth place at 30-15.

The Celtics don't have a signature road win this season, and Tuesday's game against the Heat is a great place to earn their first. It won't be easy, though. Miami is one of the league's best home teams with a 21-2 record on its own court. The Heat also have the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in basketball, so the C's will need to defend the perimeter at a high level to leave South Beach with a victory. 

Another factor going against the Celtics is injuries. Veteran center Enes Kanter already has been ruled out and star forward Jayson Tatum is doubtful to play. 

The Celtics lead the season series 1-0 after a 112-93 win in Boston last month.

Here's how to watch NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics vs. Heat, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

HOW TO WATCH

Listen and subscribe to our Celtics Talk Podcast>>>

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Tommy Heinsohn, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Forsberg: Kobe's impact on Tatum hard to quantify

That 617 Life Podcast: Honoring Kobe Bryant and his impact on the NBA

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NBC Sports Boston photo

That 617 Life Podcast: Honoring Kobe Bryant and his impact on the NBA

The death of Kobe Bryant stunned the sports world on Sunday and sparked a plethora of reactions and tributes to the Los Angeles Lakers legend around in the NBA.

It didn't matter whether you were a Lakers fan, a Boston Celtics fan, or a fan of any of the other 28 teams in the league. Regardless of whether you loved Bryant or hated him for being the villain against your favorite team, you had to respect him.

On the latest edition of the "That 617 Life" podcast, noted diehard Celtics fans Leroy Irvin, Shanda Foster and Cerrone Battle explained how their respect for Bryant went far beyond the C's rivalry with the Lakers.

Irvin discussed how he and Celtics fans everywhere had to dislike Bryant throughout his 20-year NBA career, but everyone in Boston had the utmost respect for him as a player.

Deep down inside, we respected him. Just on the surface, we didn't acknowledge it. We didn't want to acknowledge it. But deep down inside, we knew what he meant to the game. And that hurt a lot.

Bryant was 41 years old, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna also was involved in the helicopter crash along with seven other victims.

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Foster lamented the tragic loss of a legendary figure, his daughter, and seven others who were taken far too soon.

At the end of the day, he's a legend. And no one ever wants to see a legend gone before their time. It's always tragic. It's always traumatic, but when it's way before their time it's more tragic. And I'm not even adding into the fact his daughter was there and, you know, the additional victims of this.

Battle added to Foster's takeaway, noting how the Bryant family's tragedy hits close to home.

I think part of the emotion was, dude, he was the same age as me and you. He was 41 with four kids. I'm soon to be 41 with four kids and a wife.

Forsberg: Kobe's impact on Tatum hard to quantify

There's more Kobe Bryant discussion where that came from in this week's episode of "That 617 Life" podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. Click here to listen and subscribe.