Celtics

Was Danny Ainge praising Celtics rookies? Or tossing shade on Kyrie Irving?

Was Danny Ainge praising Celtics rookies? Or tossing shade on Kyrie Irving?

BOSTON -- Praise for the newest members of the Boston Celtics family or shade thrown the way of (likely ex-Celtic) Kyrie Irving? 

With Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, you never really know which bucket his most recent comments fall in. 

“I think it just makes life more enjoyable when everybody is humble, hard-working and will play any role they have to to help the team succeed, " Ainge said. "You do have to have a certain amount of talent to win as we all know, but good people makes coming to work more fun."

It was telling that among the first comments made by Celtics draft pick Grant Williams, was wanting to do whatever was needed in order to bring another banner to Boston. 

And as you listened to the rest of the rookies introduced to the media on Monday, it was pretty clear that there was an undeniable "team-before-me" theme running throughout. 

But was that them being themselves, or were those talking points that they had heard a time or two from the Celtics in their short time with the team? 

Probably a little bit of both. 

Not only is it likely to be a theme we hear more of this year, but you can bet Celtics brass are pushing it harder than usual because they are coming off a season in which individual agendas and egos came before the team in the way a number of players handled themselves and just as important, the roles they were cast to play last season.

Nowhere was this more problematic than with Irving, who was treated like the leader of the team. And like so many of his teammates, he didn't do nearly as good a job as the team needed him to do in that role. 

That led to both individual and team struggles, the kind this group were never able to bounce back from. 

The end result was a season of unfulfillment, one ending in the second round of the playoffs. 

And as part of the moving-on process, Ainge and company have to do their part to best ensure we won't see a repeat of last season. 

With Irving likely bound for Brooklyn, his departure is a start. 

But acknowledging what went wrong last year while juxtaposing that with this fresh, eager-to-get-going group, is another step in this franchise re-establishing an identity that has more to do with being selfless than selfish. And so, while some may view Ainge's comments as a barb towards Irving, it was really more of a dig at that entire team from last year. 

Because the comments made by Ainge — while many could be applicable to Irving — there were other Celtics whose play on the floor and actions behind the scenes, were also contributing factors to what was an underwhelming season here in Boston. 

Ainge's comments more than anything else, serve as a reminder of what this team should be about, win or lose. 

They lost sight of those values last season, blinded by the hype and hoopla of what being a bona fide title contender — on paper at least — was about. 

It appears they have a better sense of who they need to be going forward; a franchise that has to remain hard-working and humble, guys who want to help the next man more than wanting to be the man. That has been at the crux of what this team has maintained for years as a central part of their foundation. 

Last year, they clearly lost their way only to what appears to be, them beginning the journey to get back to being that team. 

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Celtics' Jaylen Brown organizes peaceful protest in wake of George Floyd's death

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Celtics' Jaylen Brown organizes peaceful protest in wake of George Floyd's death

Jaylen Brown is one of the many Americans speaking out against the death of George Floyd and the racial injustices that remain prevalent in this country.

The Boston Celtics star has been outspoken about the issues over the last several days, and on Saturday he took to social media to organize a peaceful protest in Atlanta.


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Brown also posted an important video message urging those who witness acts of racism to speak up or act on it.

“Being a bystander is no longer acceptable," Brown said. "If you and your friends are around or are witnesses to cultural biases, micro-aggressions, subtle acts of racism, actual racism etc. and you don’t speak up on it or do something about it, you are part of the problem. We’re past the point where if it’s not in your governance space so you have nothing to do with it. If you don’t speak up on these issues, you just as bad.”

Watch:

In addition, the 23-year-old posted an Instagram photo of himself holding a sign that reads, "I can't breathe," referencing the words said by Floyd before he was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Along with Brown, several athletes including Tom Brady and members of the New England Patriots have used their platforms to speak up about George Floyd's death.

Another Larry Bird milestone to assert his place among the all-time greats

Another Larry Bird milestone to assert his place among the all-time greats

BOSTON -- The 1986 Boston Celtics are considered one of the greatest teams of all time, having run through the regular season with ease towards a dominant postseason that ended with the team hanging Banner 16.

But weeks before the franchise’s triumphant conclusion to the season, there was another historic milestone.

Larry Bird was named the league’s MVP 34 years ago this week for the third straight season, a feat that only two others - Bill Russell (1961-1963) and Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968) - had ever done.

It’s significant because it serves as yet another reminder of how historically great Bird was; not only for the Boston Celtics but for the entire league.

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To carve out a spot in history with such an elusive group speaks to Bird’s greatness as a player who at the very least should be in the conversation as one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. 

And what made that season even more special was that during the playoffs, the elite level at which Bird played during the regular season did not waiver or lessen up in the games that mattered the most. 

In the playoffs that year, he averaged 25.9 points (0.1 points less than his season average) while increasing his field goal shooting (51.7 percent in the playoffs, 49.6 in the regular season), assists (9.8, from 8.2) and steals (2.1, from 2.0).

And when the game was on the line, the only thing larger than Bird’s ability to come through in the clutch, was his confidence.

“There’s no doubt I’m in control of what I do out there,” Bird said in an interview in 1986. “I can score any number of points my team wants me to if they give me the ball in the right situations.”

And he did, over and over and over again before finally calling it quits on his Hall of Fame career in 1992. 

Throughout his time in Boston, Bird had a number of stretches of brilliance as a basketball player. 

But the three-year run in which he was the league’s best player, resulting in three consecutive league MVP awards, stands out in a career that was filled with standout moments.