Celtics play-by-play legend Mike Gorman joins us for our latest High Five.
1. You have had a front row seat for several phases of the Boston Celtics. You've seen some of the highest highs and the lowest of lows. Throughout it all, the thread that seems to set this team and the fans apart is pride. On some level that's corny, but it doesn't make it any less true. From your seat, what does Celtics pride mean to you?
Celtic pride is the fans turning out to 97% of capacity in a year we all knew was going to end early. It's fans cheering and rooting for the team to win even though it would clearly be in everyone's best long term interest to lose. It's wearing a uniform and playing for an organization that has won 17 World Championships and you know will win again. It's walking into opposition buildings and seeing 10-20% of the crowd wearing Green. Most recently it was Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, in the 80's it was Larry and Chief and DJ and Kevin and Danny, and before them it was Havlicek, and before him Russell and Cooz and Tommy and Sam and KC and Johnny Most and most of all Red. It's the feeling I get every time I walk onto the Garden floor before a game. You know you are a part of something special.
2. Last summer was a painful-but-probably necessary demolition job. This year seemed to be about positioning for the future. The next step would seem to be building up from the foundation. What pieces do you think are necessary to build a contender in Boston again?
3. By all accounts Brad Stevens has the coaching chops, demeanor, and work ethic to succeed. With that said, he just completed his rookie season in the NBA and there's a learning curve for anyone in that situation. What kind of progress have you seen in him and do you think he'll approach anything differently next year?
I'm going to answer 2 and 3 together because it all starts with the coach. I had a front row seat to watch Brad develop and learn the pro life. From the back to backs to the four games in five nights on the road to the shorter shot clock to the longer game to the NBA refs to the day to day dealing with rich men as opposed to anxious to please boys. Brad had a whole lot thrown at him, a whole lot of stuff you had to live, you couldn't just skip over and understand and digest with some preseason briefing. From where I sat he did it well. He learned, never lost his composure, and showed on a nightly basis why Danny and the ownership are so high on him. Brad Stevens is the key going forward. Rondo, Sullinger, Bradley, Olynyk may all be a part of banner 18, but for sure Brad Stevens is going to be. He will come back more prepared, wiser, and hungry (one of his favorite words). Cant wait.
4. Is it just me or does it seem like Danny Ainge is more excited for this offseason than he has been in recent years? Without putting words in his mouth, it just seems like he's enjoying having a virtually fresh canvas to work from. Perhaps Tommy can give him some painting tips!
Yeah I think Danny can't wait to see how this plays out. Danny did this once before, there's is no reason to think he can't do it again. "It" being putting together the pieces of a championship team.
5. Speaking of Tommy, I can't let you go without asking about him. You two have been together so long that you don't even bother finishing each other's sentences anymore. You simply set each other up and knock 'em down or switch roles for fun. The montage of referees smiling and laughing with Tommy had me rolling. What are some underrated dynamics about your relationship and partnership with him that have evolved over the years?
There's nothing tricky or deep about our relationship. We just like each other, pretty much always have. We argue over politics, basketball, life, you name it -Tommy likes to say we've only had one fight and it's not over. The bottom line though is we liked each other right from the beginning and we have been able to have a successful personal as well as professional relationship for a heckuva long time.
Wonderful stuff, thanks Mike!