Celtics

A tall order for Celtics' Tacko Fall to prove he has more to offer than incredible height

A tall order for Celtics' Tacko Fall to prove he has more to offer than incredible height

FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Tacko Fall has heard the question time and time again. 

“How tall are you?”

“Five-11,” quipped Fall who has learned to have some fun with the all-too-common question that you kind of expect to be asked of someone like himself who stands well north of 7-feet tall. 

It’s easy to lock in on his 7-foot-7 frame and not think about him beyond that. 

But there’s so much more to Fall, a rookie signed to an Exhibit 10 contract earlier this summer by the Celtics. 

His Exhibit 10 contract guarantees he’ll get a small signing bonus and an invitation to training camp. 

Beyond that, the perks aren’t great. 

And yet despite an uncertain future with the Celtics, you would think he was bound for the Hall of Fame with the amount of attention he has received seemingly wherever he goes in New England. 

“Sometimes I feel like my height … obviously I am very tall,” Fall told NBC Sports Boston. “That’s gonna stick out. But a lot of times I don’t want to feel like a freak show. I feel I’m a lot more than that, I’ve shown I’m a lot more than that. Things like this, I try to show the type of person I am and keep building from there.”

The “this” Fall was referring to was the Home Makeover program sponsored by Arbella Insurance which brought him to Franklin, Mass. to participate in some basketball drills in addition to seeing the Celtics-themed room renovation. 

Being 7-7, Fall has to be careful of how he navigates his way in and out of houses.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Fall understands angles so well considering his academic background. 

A native of Senegal, Fall learned at an early age how to manage both academics and athletics. 

“When I was a kid, my mom was really strict about school,” Fall said. “Growing up, that was my mentality. I approach everything the same way, whether it’s in the classroom or on the court. I try to be the best at everything I do.”

Fall is indeed a late bloomer when it comes to basketball, but has proven himself both on and off the court as being able to pick up things quickly. 

It took him about eight months to become fluent in English once he arrived in the United States. 

And his SAT scores in high school ranked among the 95th percentile, with him taking advanced math and science courses soon followed by him majoring in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.

Now, Fall finds himself being more of a student of the game, looking to continue his unexpected basketball ascension while making the most of every opportunity that comes his way. 

Following his senior year at UCF, Fall did not get an invite to the NBA Combine. 

However, he was among the 80 players invited to the NBA G-League Elite camp, with the top players in that camp getting an invite to the NBA Pre-Draft combine. 

Fall earned a spot at the NBA combine, and made his presence felt by setting several records including tallest height in shoes (7-7), wingspan (8-2 ¼) and standing reach (10-2 ½) which allows him to dunk without jumping. 

But Fall knows regardless of the stats or the adulation he has received, he comes into training camp next month with no guarantees other than the opportunity to play his way into a guaranteed roster spot with the Celtics. 

“I know what I am fighting for,” Fall said. “That hasn’t changed since I got here. I know what I am capable of and where I want to be and where I need to be. I’m gonna fight every day to be in that position and stay there. I love the game of basketball and there’s no better place to do it than the NBA. Night-in, night out, play against the best players in the world. For me, that’s fun.”

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Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Last month, Grant Williams' generosity was on display when he provided the Boston Celtics staff with a special gift.

The C's rookie gave out candles to media members, teammates, and employees throughout the organization to show his appreciation for their work. He also took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Williams talked to NBC Sports Boston's Kyle Draper on Celtics Post Up about why he chose candles as the gift for his kind gesture.

"Candles, for me, they always put me in a great mood," Williams said. "They're relaxing. They can change your emotion after a long day. I think it's a small token of just showing appreciation and allows especially during the holidays to be able to go home and just have something where you say 'I feel appreciated.'"

A simple yet thoughtful explanation from the 21-year-old.

Williams has been impressive on the court as well as off of it this season. Of course, his 3-point shooting remains an area he'd like to improve. Especially if it means changing some of the nicknames he's been given by his Celtics teammates.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

When Jaylen Brown first signed a four-year, $115 million contract extension with the Celtics this offseason, there were questions raised about the deal.

Is this too much for Brown? Would he be able to live up to the deal?

Did the Celtics make the right move extending him?

So far, the answer to the lattermost question has been a resounding yes.

Brown has been proving his haters wrong so far this season to the tune of 19.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game for the Celtics. And on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely, Kyle Draper, and Chris Forsberg discussed Brown's performance and Forsberg noted what has led Brown to such a torrid start.

What's remarkable to me is that [Brown's improvement is] across the board. It's not like one thing that Jaylen did this offseason. It feels like he improved his ball-handling, he improved his vision. Like I thought he would come into the season and make a noticeable leap. But to not only be up at 20 points per game now, even more in this stretch without Gordon Hayward, but to be able to take Jimmy Butler off the dribble, hit him with two crossovers and then hit a 22-foot stepback, Jaylen Brown wasn't doing that a year ago.

I look at his stat line now, and I know I've joked about it in the past, but it's pretty close to Jimmy Butler. It's getting closer to Kawhi Leonard.

Forsberg would clarify that Brown isn't on that level yet, but he certainly is getting better.

In addition to the discussion about Brown, the podcast crew also talked to Grant Williams, who discussed the start of his rookie season as well as some entertaining stories about some of his new nicknames that stem from his 3-point shooting.

Hear more from Blakley, Draper, and Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Celtics Talk Podcast," which drops every Thursday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.