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How Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier developed an unlikely friendship with a Utah teen

Selena Ferrel, Courtesy Photo

Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier poses with 14-year-old Sergio Ferrel after a Utah Jazz game. Ferrel, a Salt Lake City native, regularly runs a fan page for Rozier on Instagram and has received free tickets.

BOSTON — As Terry Rozier trotted onto the hardwood ahead of a 2016 Utah Jazz Summer League game; a young fan caught his attention near the Vivint Arena tunnel.

“Hey,” Selena Ferrel shouted.

“Oh, what’s up?” Rozier responded, before stepping onto the court.

“Can you sign this?” she asked, holding her clear iPhone case. “I don’t have nothing else.”

Although the Boston Celtics guard looked back and kept going, Rozier eventually returned to autograph the case. Later that night, Ferrel shared the experience with her younger brother, Sergio, in Salt Lake City.

They then watched Rozier’s Louisville highlights on YouTube, admiring his style of play, then Sergio decided to launch a @team.rozier fan page on Instagram in Feb. 2017, with regular updates on the fourth-year guard’s NBA career.

“I liked how he played as a player,” Sergio said. “How he plays the game is phenomenal to me.”

On Monday, Nov. 12, Sergio celebrated his 14th birthday in Utah. Rozier delivered his gift ahead of time, though, with free tickets to the Jazz-Celtics game for Gordon Hayward’s first game back on Nov. 9. Utah won, 123-115, but Rozier started in place of All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who missed the game for personal reasons, to post a team-high 22 points, six rebounds and three assists.

“It’s dope that you can impact kids lives and stuff like that, especially just knowing where I come from and how I tried to find a guy to look up to, being where I’m from,” Rozier told the Deseret News. “Just seeing that on a kid’s face, and I just know with him it’s genuine and it’s real because they had my fan page when I first came into the league.”

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Rozier never imagined having a fan base in Utah. Not only does Rozier follow the page, so do members of his family, including his mother, aunt and cousins as the page is updated regularly with stats and random facts.

“Never,” Rozier said, smiling. “That would probably be the last place that I thought would have my account just about me. It don’t matter where it’s at or where you come from, it’s just dope to see. It’s a big difference.”

With Rozier on the final season of his rookie contract, the Celtics guard is expected to enter restricted free agency this offseason after not yet reaching an extension in Boston. The Ferrel family is hopeful that he’ll become a Jazzman.

“That would be amazing,” Selena said. “That would be so dope. That would be cool.”

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Sergio is currently in the eighth grade at City Academy in Utah. He plays Junior Jazz basketball, but most importantly has earned the trust of Rozier, which is rare with his tough upbringing in the Midwest.

“I just always seen him posting my stats and just posting things about me before I even followed him back,” Rozier said. “They stuck with me, even when I wasn’t playing and stuff like that they stuck with me, so I was like why not show him some love every time I come in the city. I give him tickets, talk to him for a little bit and things like that for him and his sister. It’s just great to see.”

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