Paul Pierce praises this player as 'biggest unsung hero' of 2008 Celtics

Paul Pierce praises this player as 'biggest unsung hero' of 2008 Celtics

The 2008 Boston Celtics will forever have a special place in the hearts of fans throughout this region, and winning the NBA Finals that season might not have been possible without one key veteran in particular.

James Posey played a pivotal role at both ends of the floor on that championship-winning Celtics team. His perimeter defense ranked among the best in the league. Posey did a tremendous job guarding Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, which was instrumental in the C's winning the 2008 NBA Finals in six games. Bryant was held by Posey and others to 40.6 percent shooting in the series, including a 26.8 percent mark from 3-point range.

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It's hard to overstate Posey's value to the 2008 Celtics, and Paul Pierce went as far to say on a recent episode of the The Players’ Tribune’s “Knuckleheads” podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles that Posey was the "biggest unsung hero" of that C's squad.

“That was the year Posey was a beast,” Pierce said. “He was hitting big shots. And he would go and lock up and take pressure off of me. Posey was like one of the big glue guys you want to have. Like, guys like that are guys that help you win championships, for real.”

Posey's best performance of the playoffs came in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics overcame a 24-point deficit to beat the Lakers at Staples Center and take a 3-1 series lead. Posey, in addition to his excellent defense, scored 18 points on 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. A couple of those shots came in the second half, including a clutch 3-pointer that gave the C's a 92-87 lead with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Posey didn't stick around in Boston for long. He earned a well-deserved contract with the New Orleans Pelicans the following summer as a free agent, and there's no doubt the C's missed Posey's presence in the 2010 NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers. 

The 2008 Celtics will go down as one of the best in franchise history, and while Posey wasn't one of the team's "Big 3", his definitely ranks among that squad's most valuable players.

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Celtics guard Marcus Smart confirms he's cleared of coronavirus

Celtics guard Marcus Smart confirms he's cleared of coronavirus

The Boston Celtics faithful got some great news on Sunday night. Marcus Smart has officially been cleared of coronavirus as of Friday.

Smart took to Twitter on Sunday night to proclaim that he had been "corona free" for two days. Here's a look at his message to fans.

Smart also took some time to joke about how his immune system deserves an award for its performance against the virus.

That's excellent news that Smart is healthy. Brad Stevens had confirmed that Smart had been "feeling good" in a recent interview, and it appears that the scrappy guard is now out of the woods.

Smart had been asymptomatic at the time of his test. But he was tested out of an abundance of caution given that the Celtics had squared off against the Utah Jazz not long before Rudy Gobert tested positive for the disease.

After his diagnosis, Smart appeared on CNN to offer his perspective on the pandemic. He said that he was taking the quarantine "very, very seriously" even before his test had come back positive.

With Smart cleared, that means that all Celtics players and staffers that were tested have been cleared of COVID-19.

Tacko Fall discusses Africa-to-America basketball pipeline on 60 Minutes

Tacko Fall discusses Africa-to-America basketball pipeline on 60 Minutes

When Tacko Fall was 16, he left Senegal for the first time. The big man came to the United States on a special visa to attend high school and develop as a basketball player.

There was only one problem. Fall wasn't very familiar with the game of basketball. And as he described in an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Jon Wertheim, that was part of his tough adjustment to life in the USA.

"I was a big kid. I was huge. I was 7' 2". But I didn't know what I was doing on the basketball court. I had no idea," Fall said, as transcribed by CBS News' Keith Zubrow. "I didn't even know if I belonged in there. Some [of] it was a tough time getting adjusted to that. Just playing every day, working out, practicing, having the regimen. And it was also tough mentally, not having my mom, not having my family around."

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Though Fall had his share of issues at first, including moving to several different states before ultimately landing at Liberty Christian Prep, nearby Orlando, Fla., he ultimately figured everything out. He went to play for the UCF Golden Knights where he was one of their team's best players and the NCAA's best shot blockers. 

While Fall went undrafted after a four-year career at UCF, he caught on with the Boston Celtics during the Las Vegas Summer League. He became an instant fan-favorite and found a perfect role with the squad as a two-way player. And before the NBA shut down, he spent most of his time with the Maine Red Claws continuing to develop his game while averaging 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks and making better than 70 percent of his shots.

But Fall knows that there are some that aren't so lucky. And he's hoping that the NBA getting involved with the program will improve conditions for all involved.

"[There's] been many times where I feel like some people have been taken advantage of," Fall said. "They bring them here, then that's it. Then they're just left for their own. And if things don't work out, then they are pretty much screwed. It's getting better. I feel like now that they know what's going on, people are being more careful… especially now with the NBA being involved. And it's only gonna keep getting better."

Hopefully, it does continue to get better as Fall says. And maybe he can work with the NBA to help shape a program that helps all parties involved attain a desirable outcome.