Celtics

Should this Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant video really worry Celtics fans?

Should this Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant video really worry Celtics fans?

Are you an NBA conspiracy theorist living in New York? Boy, do we have the video for you.

NBA reporter Ben Stinar shared a 24-second clip Monday morning of Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving having an animated discussion with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant in the tunnel of Charlotte's Spectrum Center at 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend.

We don't know when exactly the video was recorded. We can't hear what Irving and Durant are saying. But at one point, Kyrie holds up two fingers to KD.

And that's all Knicks fans needed to see.

The Knicks just freed up two maximum contract slots by trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks before the deadline. Irving and Durant both are unrestricted free agents this summer, and both have been tied to New York in free agency.

So, Kyrie is clearly urging KD to join him and sign with the Knicks, right?

We can see why people are drawing this conclusion. The two close friends and USA Basketball teammates spent a lot of time together at All-Star Weekend, and both have unclear futures: After promising Celtics fans he'd re-sign in Boston, Irving recently told reporters to "ask (him) July 1" about his pending free agency, while Durant may seek a new challenge after three seasons in the Warriors' dynasty.

But what if Irving is pitching Durant on signing in Boston? What if he's telling his buddy about the two additional first-round picks the Celtics have in the 2019 NBA Draft? What if he's urging Durant to join an established title contender with a bright future instead of a dysfunctional franchise that's about to miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season?

The point is that there are many ways to interpret and dissect a random hallway conversation between two friends. They could be plotting to alter the NBA landscape by bolting for New York ... or they could be discussing dinner plans. ("Two appetizers for the price of one!")

Considering Irving's penchant for unpredictability, it's still way too early to draw conclusions about his future, regardless of what bread crumbs may appear. He could actually want to sign with Durant in New York today, then do a complete 180 after the Celtics rally for a deep postseason run.

So, if you hear a Knicks fan gloating about a Kyrie-KD power duo at Madison Square Garden, go ahead and remind them not to count their chickens before they hatch.

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Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

Brad Stevens isn't very active on Twitter. In fact, his last tweet before Monday came during March Madness in 2017 when his former team, Butler University, was making its NCAA Tournament run.

Stevens broke his three-year Twitter silence Monday morning with two tweets, both of which stressed the importance of making real change to combat racial injustice in America following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

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The first tweet from Stevens was his support of the NBA Coaches Association's statement on Floyd's death.

The second tweet was a message from Stevens regarding former President Barack Obama's article that he wrote for Medium titled, "How to Make This Moment The Turning Point For Real Change.” 

Boston Celtics players have taken an active role over the last week in calling for change and engaging in peaceful protests.

Celtics guard and Georgia native Jaylen Brown made the long drive from Boston to Atlanta to lead a peaceful protest Saturday. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, and guard Marcus Smart also joined protesters in Boston on Sunday.

The Celtics released their own statement Sunday, which included the following passage: "We stand with our players, employees, partners, and fans in being committed to championing the change we need.”

We need more Jaylen Browns and Enes Kanters in quest for positive change

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We need more Jaylen Browns and Enes Kanters in quest for positive change

Jaylen Brown made a 15-hour drive to his native Georgia and, with a Celtics cap on his head and megaphone in his hand, led a peaceful protest Saturday in Atlanta.

Fresh off his own 15-hour drive back to Boston, Enes Kanter joined protesters outside the Massachusetts State House on Sunday and, in his No. 11 Celtics gameday jersey, told a crowd that, “change cannot wait.”

Those were two powerful images. Two basketball players using their platform in hopes of combating racial injustice in a peaceful, positive way.

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What made these individual moments even more powerful was having the support of the Celtics organization behind them. As teammates Marcus Smart and Vincent Poirier joined Boston protesters on Sunday night, the Celtics released a statement noting, “We stand with our players, employees, partners, and fans in being committed to championing the change we need.”

As much as the Celtics organization is regarded for its winning tradition, being at the forefront of social change has likewise been a hallmark for the team and its players. This past weekend conjured memories of Bill Russell at the 1963 March on Washington fighting for civil rights.

In a time when many need strong, non-divisive voices from those in leadership positions, Celtics players — and the organization as a whole — answered the initial call.

Coach Brad Stevens explained the team’s approach in 2017 when Celtics players were pelted with questions in the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem.

"We talk about trying to use our platform to have positive discussion to talk about things like uniting,” said Stevens. “We talk all the time about, leaders unite and inspire people and misleaders divide. So, ultimately, if we can be a team that uses that in a positive way, if we can be individuals that use that in a positive way, we can create a good message that unifies, you’re doing your small part with the platform you’re given.”

The “Shut Up and Dribble” suggestion was always preposterous. NBA players have a stage to positively influence the millions that watch their game and it should be embraced when they use it in a positive manner.

This writer's two young daughters are struggling to understand the senseless death of George Floyd and the emotions that have spilled out in the aftermath. Being able to show them images of Celtics players, something they can connect to, trying to bring people together peacefully and use a horrendous situation to spur positive change makes those conversations a little easier.

We need more athletes to use their stage and amplify their voice. We need more sports teams to stand behind their players when they do such.

We need more Jaylen Browns and Enes Kanters.