For as long as Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have joined the Celtics, so has the idea of "Ubuntu" -- but it's one that looks to stay long past their time with team.
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.
JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were hesitant to talk about it, saying they know of it, but haven't had "the talk" yet. Ditto with Keyon Dooling, who said, "We aren't ready for 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.