Kyrie Irving and the Celtics visited Boston Children’s Hospital on Tuesday to spread holiday cheer as the new year quickly approaches. Brad Stevens wore a Santa hat, while a Christmas tree sat atop Irving’s head. But the starting guard’s Duke affiliation quickly made him the Grinch to a child discussing basketball with him.
Stevens’ mouth dropped when the child asked Irving, mid-debate, “Who won the Duke-Gonzaga game?”
All bets were off in the previously-friendly conversation, since the eleven games Irving played in a Blue Devils uniform forced him to defend the team everybody in the country is rooting against every night. Gonzaga’s 89-87 win over Duke on November 21st dropped the Blue Devils from #1 to #3 in the country. They boast the college equivalent of the Warriors’ talent in the NBA and several players that the Celtics might target in next summer’s draft.
The two had apparently been discussing an upcoming game between 9-0 Michigan and South Carolina, when the Duke reference knocked Irving off his toes. He got back up with a foolproof defense, “Because we’re Duke. Because we’re Duke. That’s why. And that’s why you’re so mad.”
As the exchange went on, Stevens intervened in his Santa hat as the voice of reason, asking the child to take his biases out of it to settle the debate.
“Do you think they’re one of the best teams you’ve ever seen?”
“Ok, yes, but...”
Irving also led a rendition of Jingle Bells flanked by Guerschon Yabusele and Daniel Theis. He may not have done Coach K proud in the aforementioned debate, but Irving was the right choice to carry a tune.
Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Jay Larranaga attended as well. Gordon Hayward drew comparisons to Toy Story with his hat and, for some reason, everybody needed lyric sheets. Apparently the C’s aren’t avid Christmas music listeners.
Jokes aside, the Celtics provided smiles and laughs to some of the people who need it most during a time of year to consider the less fortunate during a season of excess. Irving gave away a pair of exclusive shoes to another child, and the whole team showed one of the great gifts of professional sports: to use their platform to improve the world.
Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, provides comprehensive care to both patients and survivors of childhood cancers. U.S. News and World Report ranked it the top pediatric hospital in the country this year. The Celtics’ Shamrock Foundation sponsors their annual fundraising dinner and auction. If you’re interested in donating and/or volunteering with Boston Children’s Hospital, please click here.