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One-on-one with Lamar Stevens: “This is the first time in my career I’ve been a part of something like this”

In a CelticsBlog exclusive, Lamar Stevens explained why he loves being a part of the Stay Ready group and how unique his Celtics experience has been.

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Last night, Lamar Stevens participated at a Playmakers Event — held by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’ Shamrock Dream — aimed to inspire young girls by connecting them to female figures. Thirty middle school and high school female youth attended the Auerbach Center event, and Lamar Stevens spent the hanging out with them, alongside an impressive cast of inspiring women in the Celtics community and beyond, like NBC’s Amina Smith and Maine Celtics assistant coach Ashley Battle.

Lamar Stevens laughs at the Shamrock Foundation’s Playmakers Event.

Lamar named his mom, sister, and grandmother as the most important women in his life: “There’s nothing like the support and love of your mom. I always have her in my corner.” He also said he draws inspiration from female NBA reporters like Rachel Nichols and Molly Qerim for overcoming the odds and maintaining confidence in the league.

CelticsBlog caught up with Stevens after the event to discuss how the league can better combat violence against women, what his experience in Boston has been like so far, what his favorite thing about Joe Mazzulla has been, and more.

The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

How does it feel for you to be able to participate in this type of event on the issue of women’s empowerment, and to have that platform?

It’s great. It’s super important to stay connected, continue to have these conversations and build these connections, and continue to spread the word about equality and just staying together, lifting each other up. It’s important for all races and all genders. I think it’s great.

There’s been a lot of conversations in the NBA and in pro sports leagues in general about incidents of domestic violence and violence against women. From your standpoint as an NBA player, a) what can the league be doing better, and b) what can individual players do to help promote a culture where that’s not as prevalent.

Honestly, the league should do something for sure in just continuing to enforce that they’re not going to stand for that. But I also think it’s just on the person. That’s just something that you don’t do. Just continuing to spread the word and knowing the importance of having quality relationships and treating people fairly. It goes both ways, just in terms of the league and individuals.

As a defensive-minded player, who’s the hardest person to defend in the NBA?

It has to be a smaller, quick guard — probably Jalen Brunson.

What’s been your favorite part of being on the Celtics?

Probably when we go on the road and we still have fans. It’s like a home game, and I think that’s super cool. Even just playing at TD Garden, our fans are next level — just that energy, and it’s not even just when we’re here. I think that’s super dope.

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Is there a teammate you’ve gotten particularly close with?

Me and Payton [Prichard] have gotten super close, me and Oshae [Brissett] have gotten really close. I’m really close with all of the guys – KP [Kristaps Porzingis], too – but those are the ones that stand out so far.

What’s been your favorite part of how Joe Mazzulla approaches this team?

His honesty – just how real he is with the players. He talks about issues before they actually become issues. He just addresses them head-on. He’s always just thinking one step ahead, he’s not just in the moment. He’s thinking about two or three different ways that somebody might guard an action, or how they might guard this action in the playoffs, stuff like that. He’s always one step ahead of our opponents. That’s been huge for us to have the success that we’ve had.

You’ve been a part of the “Stay Ready” group this season — what’s that experience like and how have you managed to actually stay ready when your number is called?

It’s amazing. This is the first time in my career I’ve been a part of something like this. It’s all about the process – just enjoying the process, getting better, and not worrying about when the opportunity may come or how it may come, but just knowing that each day, you’ve prepared yourself to the best of your ability. From there, everything else will take care of itself. There’s been great lessons taught to me within the Stay Ready group, and it’s a great thing for the culture of our team.

Brad Stevens talked about how you don’t want to bring someone in that doesn’t buy into that mindset. Do you think it’s unique for this group to be so bought in to the broader goal?

I definitely think so. I talk to some of the guys about that all the time, just for us to have all the talent that we do have and for there to be no issues, it’s incredible. You don’t really see that that often. Brad did a great job putting the right group of guys around each other, that enjoy coming to work, that enjoy getting better, that put winning at the forefront of everything. It’s definitely a unique team. It’s really cool to be a part of, for everyone to put that pride to the side.

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