BOSTON – Over the last few weeks, the Boston Celtics have begun to prepare themselves for what they hope will be a banner-winning season. All the while, they have been drawing inspiration from another local team that is within striking distance of capturing a title of its own.
Coach Brad Stevens has been highlighting moments from the Boston Red Sox’ historic, 108-win campaign throughout Celtics training camp, with the hope of inspiriting his players before the start of the NBA season.
Most recently, Stevens brought up the unselfishness of Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt. Last week, Holt became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle during a postseason game, doing so in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the rival New York Yankees. Yet the next day, Holt was benched in favor of Ian Kinsler.
Despite his career performance the night before, Holt was completely on board with the decision, knowing that Kinsler had a strong history against New York’s Game 4 starter, CC Sabathia.
Having Holt’s type of unselfish mindset is something that Stevens hopes to see out of his own players this season, knowing that they will all have to make sacrifices in order to reach their ultimate goal.
“We’ve used [the Red Sox] as examples quite a bit,” Stevens said Sunday afternoon ahead of Celtics practice. “The Brock Holt example last week of going for the cycle and getting a DNP the next day, is how you win, right? And being willing to take on those roles – both as the guy that did it and the guy that replaced him the next night in Kinsler – those things matter. They’ve set a great example for us as we move into a new year.”
Stevens knows that many of the examples he shares with his players can go without saying, because there is such strong mutual support among the players on all of Boston’s teams.
“We talked about [the Holt example] a little bit in film, but everybody knows it,” said Stevens. “Everybody’s paying attention to what’s going on. And all of us, whether we’re transplanted or not, become fans of the teams here.”
It didn’t take long at all for Stevens to become a fan of the Red Sox. He and his family were fortunate enough to move to Boston just a few months before the Sox hoisted the 2013 World Series trophy.
“Ever since then I’d say our whole family has been hooked,” said Stevens. “And it’s just a blast to be able to go over there and watch them work.”
Stevens had the opportunity to watch the Sox work in person Saturday night, as he attended Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros. Although the Red Sox wound up losing 7-2, Stevens still had a blast going out to support them, just as he does with all of Boston’s teams.
“I get such a kick out of being a fan and just enjoying that,” said Stevens. “Obviously, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but hopefully they’ll get [Game 2 Sunday night]. I think that it’s just special to get a chance to [support] all these teams. Certainly, the Red Sox have had a historic year. They’ve always rebounded when something tough has happened.”
Whether it’s an ability to overcome adversity, or an act of unselfishness, the Red Sox are constantly showing qualities of being a championship-contending team. All the while, their acts are providing great examples for their neighbors over on Causeway Street, who are hoping to contend for a title of their own this coming NBA season.