You may think it's cheesy, or a gimmick, but to a lot of the players on the Celtics, "Ubuntu" is real, and it's something they try to live by on and off the court.
Not sure what Ubuntu is? I wrote about it a couple years ago -- back on Nov. 5, 2009. By then, the entire team had been introduced to the meaning, with the rookies doing the research and presenting the findings.
With that in mind, I talked to a few rookies and Celtics newcomers a couple weeks ago about what they thought and learned about Ubuntu. But the response I got was one I didn't expect -- none of them had been formally introduced to it yet.
Interesting, I thought.
So when I finally got a chance to talk to Rivers about it at last weekend's practice, he told me why the new guys haven't been introduced to the meaning.
"I've made a conscious effort that you have to earn it first, and I think we're very close to introducing it actually," he said. "But it's been longer than usual."
With the lockout-shortened season, it made for little time to focus on the intangibles. Heck, they didn't even have their roster until days before the preseason -- and even then they weren't all there.
"I think because we had so many changes, and we didn't have a camp," Rivers said. "Everything was so quick. We were so focused on just trying to learn our stuff and now I think our guys are so bought in to all the little things now."
Before the All-Star break, the Celtics were flailing. Now, they appear to have righted the ship, and are playing with a different spirit. Kevin Garnett reportedly let the team have it prior to the All-Star break, and something must have clicked. Now even KG -- a guy who preaches chemistry -- is happy with the team attitude of late.
"Kevin reminds me, he did the other day, he said, 'I think it's time.' So I think he's right, and I think we'll do it very soon.
"[The new players] have heard of it, but they have no idea about the meaning of it yet. But the young guys will be studying soon."
The Celtics go on an eight-game road trip starting next week, and you can bet there will be some serious team bonding going on -- that is, unless Danny Ainge gets creative at the deadline.