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For Celtics players, Thanksgiving hits home

It's no secret that the players on the Celtics are hungry for wins, but on Wednesday night they were hungry for more than just a win over the Philadelphia 76ers- they were hungry for some Thanksgiving dinner.

As fans of the game, its tough to relate our lifestyles to those of some of the best basketball players in the world, but when it comes to the holidays, and food, those are things that we can definitely comprehend.

"I know I'm going to eat, I know that for sure- that's not a question," Kendrick Perkins confidently stated. "I'll probably catch a few movies, maybe go to the bowling alley but that's about it."

Of course, movies and bowling on Thanksgiving. Hey, everybody celebrates in their own way. Perk is a big boy, and he's had his fair share of meals in the past. It just so happens his favorite dish is turkey that his grandma knows exactly how to make.

"It's what I love. It has to be seasoned right- baked turkey."

When told that his Dallas Cowboys will be playing the Oakland Raiders tomorrow, Perk responded by saying, "That's a sure win. Put that one in the book."

Ray Allen is a workout machine. He prides himself in keeping his body in great shape, and attributes a lot of his success to his conditioning and work ethic. For that reason I was not completely surprised when he told me what he was doing on Thanksgiving.

"I'm just going to the gym, get on the treadmill..." Allen tried to say it with a straight face before breaking out in laughter.

Allen gave away turkeys, stuffing, pumpkin pies, and other treats to 275 families in need of a Thanksgiving dinner though his Ray of Hope Foundation. Ray knows how important it is to have a good meal with friends and family.

"I'm trying to collect friends. I got all my family but I've always got friends that I'm just trying to check on make sure everybody has somewhere to eat and have a good time around friends and family. I have a lot of friends in Connecticut and I just need to make sure that they have places to go, somewhere to eat; so that's why I say collecting friends. My family is definitely a constant; they will be near me, next to me, running around me- my little boy."

Allen, who was sitting next to Glen Davis, began to explain his likes and dislikes of certain foods.

"The one food that I couldn't and still can't wrap my mouth around is cranberry sauce."

"Hmm?!" Davis tries to say as he nearly spits out his water.

"Cranberry sauce- never could get into it. But you know what? I wasn't even a big fan of turkey for a long time, and stuffing, and you know how your taste buds change as you get older? Collard greens! I didn't eat collard greens. I used to eat corn, my mom made these beans with ground beef in it. She made plenty of stuff like ribs, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, but like true Thanksgiving food I wasn't a big fan of."

"Stuffing!" Davis yells out, as if he can already taste it.

"Yea stuffing, she started making stuffing with meat in it, and the other things," Ray says back. "Now it's like I love it. Now it's off the hook."

"Still can't eat cranberry sauce?" Baby says, still finding it hard to believe.

"Nah I don't eat cranberry, but collared greens are some of my favorite," Allen responds.

Seeing how captivated Big Baby was by the discussion it was easy to see how important Thanksgiving was to him growing up.

"[It was] like a party," he said, deep in thought. "Food galore. Ham, turkey, chitlins- a whole lot."

Brian Scalabrine came out prior to the start of the game and wished the fans a happy Thanksgiving on behalf of the Celtics organization. In the locker room, Scal reflected upon Thanksgiving growing up in Washington.

"It was a low key day," Scalabrine said. "Me and my dad would hike up this mountain that's like local, we have a local mountain that's like a mile and a half. Come back, watch football. Eat at like 4:00, call it a day."

And no, Scal doesn't eat veal on Thanksgiving.

For JR Giddens, Thanksgiving meant a whole bunch of soul food.

"Growing up, and I don't know if it's cooked out here, but my favorite thing to eat is Chitlins. Basically it's soul food. Chilis, greens, dressing, cornbread, candy yams, just everything."

That's two points for chitlins, if you're scoring at home. For anyone wondering what chitlins are, a quick Google search showed that they are pig intestines. If I ever have the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with the Davis or Giddens family, I might pass that dish on to the next person at the table. No disrespect to the chefs intended!

Marquis Daniels is ready for an interesting Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to his daughter who will be helping out mom in the kitchen.

"I'm going to eat some of my daughter's cupcakes," Daniels said with a laugh. "She's going to try to cook something imaginary."

Reflecting back upon Thanksgiving growing up in Florida, Daniels couldn't help but smile when he said, "Couldn't wait for it. Get some of your auntie's favorite cooking, your grandma's favorite- everybody brings their favorite dish that they specialize in so it's always great."

But what's your favorite dish Quis?

"Back then my auntie has this baked ham she used to do that and it was incredible. But right now it's my wife's homemade mac and cheese. It's incredible."

Celtics rookie Lester Hudson and his family would host a big get together at this house every Thanksgiving. Being his first NBA season, the idea of being away from home during the holidays is new to him, but something his family and he understand.

"It was great for me and my family growing up; it was a big tradition for us," Hudson explained. "Everybody would come over- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, close friends. My grandma would just cook and it would be great for everybody. Turkey dressing, greens, macaroni, corn bread. I'm going to miss that tomorrow but I'm doing what I love to do which is play basketball so she understands, everybody understands."

"Happy Thanksgiving everyone," said coach Doc Rivers to members of the media, "eat well."

Never at a loss for words, Doc followed that up, saying, "And looking around I think that's been done."

Aw, come on Doc.


Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

By Jim Toscano

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