clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Summer Boredcast: Favorite non-star Celtics player

They were All Stars in our hearts.


Continuing the Boredcast series with a happier note.

Who was your all time favorite non-star Celtics player?

Kevin O'Connor - CelticsBlog

Leon Powe

The past ten years there have been plenty of great players to pass through the city of Boston but after reading this question, Leon Powe was the first one that popped up into my mind. To me, Leon was the definition of a Celtic. He played with fire, passion, hustle, grit, heart...he did at all. Leon was undersized but was a monster rebounder off the bench. Do you remember his performance in game two of the NBA Finals? In only 15 minutes, Leon had 21 points, playing a huge role in the C's victory that night. But more importantly, Leon Powe was an incredible man off the court. His backstory is extremely sad but it obviously helped morphed him into the man he was, which was someone we can all look up to. (Video: )

Bill Sy - CelticsBlog

Leon Powe

Some players enjoy long careers. Some of them are superstars that win accolade after accolade. Others spend 15 years in the league cultivating a niche and carving out a role. And then there are the flashes in the pan. Some guys don't live up to the hype while others supernova, but burn out short and bright. And then there are the grinders, the second round picks with no guarantees. Work hard enough and they might stick around the bigs for a few years, but their opportunities are often few and fleeting. Don't work hard enough or don't find the right team and you're gone, but once in a while, everything clicks. That was Leon Powe.

If you're a Celtics fan, you know his story. His father abandoned his family when he was 2 and he lived in between foster homes and the streets after his home burned down and his mother died when he was in high school. But despite all these personal obstacles, he persevered, went to Cal, and was snatched up by Danny in the second round the summer before he put together the Big Three. He played on a non-guaranteed contract and didn't see a lot of playing time to prove that he could play.

But something magical happened in that Game 2 of the Finals. Nobody knew what Pierce's knee was going to be like and Game 1 was pretty tight and the Lakers were desperate to split a pair in Boston. Look, I won't make it sound any more dramatic. There were parts of that game when we were up 20, but I don't think we roll like we did that night without those two stretches from Leon. Maybe I'm making too much out of 15 minutes of play, but I was so happy that night when he shined in the spotlight on the biggest stage. He finished everything so strong at the cup and he ran the floor like a 250-pound gazelle before his knees would ultimately end his career.

We talk a lot about Celtic Pride and the Celtic Way on this blog and there are the obvious standard bearers: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Bill Russell, etc. Those guys are great and history will remember them forever, but there should be a hall of fame for guys like Leon Powe. In the end, Leon would only spend three seasons in Boston after Ainge decided to complement the roster with vets like Rasheed Wallace and Jermaine O'Neal to surround his core rather than keep him. He'd only play in fifty more games over two seasons for Cleveland and Memphis and he tried to make a run at it again with Chicago's summer league team last year, but his knees were shot. His career was short and his time with the Celtics was a blip. He didn't put up big numbers, but you knew what you were going to get from him every night. He wasn't smooth with the ball or quick on defense, but he worked and he worked and he worked. He's easily one of my favorite Celtics over the last ten years and certainly of all time.

(For what it's worth, whenever I type Leon's name, I always spell it wrong and type "Leon Power." It kills me to have to delete the "r" every time.)

Josh Zavadil - CelticsBlog

Leon Powe

His stint in Boston was short, but everything about what he did during his career fit with the type of player that I enjoy. He played a crucial role in a number of games for Boston, and his heart and passion for the specific role he was asked to play was contagious.

Tim MacLean - Celtics Spot / CLNS Radio

Brian Scalabrine

No I'm serious. Brian Scalabrine was one of my favorite non-star players that donned the green and white in the past 10 years. Although he may not have been an instrumental part of the team in terms on his actual play, he occupied a role that wasn't much different from the one Kent Bazemore served in last year for Golden State. Bazemore was the guy who brought the team together on the bench and really got them engaged in what was happening on the floor. The same could be said for Scal, who, surprisingly, danced just as much as Bazemore does now. But aside from being one of the game's ultimate cheer leaders, Scal could play. He was always ready when Doc Rivers called his number, impacting the game in some way, shape, or form. Sure, he didn't post monstrous numbers but that's not the point. He brought the team together - whether you realized it or not - and there's not much more important than having great chemistry flowing through your entire roster.

Mike Dyer - Celtics Life

Tony Allen

The thing I love most about basketball, and sports in general, is the unpredictability. It's the ultimate reality show. No one over the past 10 seasons has encompassed that trait better than Tony Allen. On some nights you got an all-world defender who doubled as an aggressive playmaker on offense. On others, you got three quick fouls and a seat on the bench. And then there was the night in January, 2007 when Allen went up for a post whistle dunk, and when he came down his ACL exploded on the Garden floor. This was the perfect embodiment of T.A., who was in the midst of the best run of his career at the time (he had averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals over the past 14 games). Just when you thought he'd zig..he zagged. Allen slowly carved out a role in the Big 3 era Celtics, peaking during the 2010 playoffs where he helped fluster LeBron into one of his worst playoff series performances ever. He looked like he finally had his niche, taking over many of the defensive responsibilities that James Posey had during the 2008 title run. But it wasn't meant to be. T.A. jumped ship during the summer of 2010, and the Celtics have missed his on ball defense, and I have missed his unpredictability, ever since.

Mark Vandeusen - Celtics Life

Eddie House

Arizona State Sun Devils are cool. I love three-point shooters with no conscience, and House once had a 61 point game in college. But somehow he also managed to pull off being the backup point guard on a title winning team in 2008, not an easy task for a guy who loved to shoot from anywhere at any time.

HeisenCelts - Truth On Causeway

Tony Allen

Because I just love defense. Tony's defensive impact and intensity was phenomenal, especially in 2010.

GeeZeeCelts - Truth on Causeway

Jared Sullinger

Yeah, yeah, say what you will about choosing someone out of 2013 when I had 10 years to work with, but a) I started watching only in 2007, so that narrows it down b) I don't really remember rooting so hard for a player to succeed on the court as I've done with Sullinger. With every offensive rebound and putback layup he made, my heart momentarily jumped to a place where the sun always shines and peace lasts forever. Honorable mentions go to Jeff Green, James Posey, Rasheed Wallace and... Jason Terry. I can never explain my fascination with Jet. Let's leave that alone.

Jeff's Take:

Walter McCarty

There are so many good choices. Leon Powe is a sentimental favorite. Brain Scalabrine really endeared himself to me and many fans over the years. James Posey was a great 6th man for the short time he was here. But I think I'll have to go to the archives for I LOVE WAL-TAH!!!!

Those were some lean years and we needed someone to rally around. He wasn't always effective, but he was always active, which is the next best thing. He dove after loose balls everyone on the court and flew in for rebounds. He was active on defense and he had that lanky 3 point shot that occasionally went in and made the crowd (and Tommy of course) go wild.

I miss that guy. It sure would be great to have him around again. Hey wait! He will be! The name "Coach McCarty" is going to take some getting used to, but I can dig it.

How about you? Who was your favorite non-star Celtics player?

More from CelticsBlog:

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog