Brad Stevens gushed about the history and tradition surrounding the Boston Celtics franchise when he signed on to be the team's 17th coach last month. With a nod to the 17 banners hanging in the rafters at TD Garden, it appears Stevens is committed to using some of that history to help his team in transition return to contender status.
Former Celtics guard Kenny Anderson revealed Tuesday that Stevens sent letters to former Celtics players. The letters encouraged the alumni to remain in contact with the franchise and extended an invite to attend games or practices.
Here is a sample of Stevens' letter (with some of the Celtics' contact info redacted):
I am truly humbled and honored to assume the responsibilities of head coach of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics’ mystique, history, culture and tradition speaks for itself. There is nothing else like it in all of professional sports.
At the press conference announcing my hiring, I was in awe looking up at the 17 championship banners. I am first and foremost a fan and admirer of the Boston Celtics and what has been accomplished by each of you.
On behalf of the Boston Celtics management, staff and players, I write you to come around any time. Please know that you are cordially welcome to attend our practice sessions, home games at the TD Garden, games when we are on the road and Celtics events in our community.
I look forward to meeting you in the near future. Continued success and well wishes.
For 36-year-old Stevens, it's a thoughtful gesture that helps him connect to the team's past. In the days following his hiring, Stevens stressed a desire to meet his new players and develop immediate relationships. He worked quick to get in touch with each of Boston's current players and has maintained contact this summer. Now, as he settles in, Stevens appears to be trying to form relationships with those players that laid the foundation for the franchise and made this such an attractive opportunity.
Stevens has had a productive first month on the job since his formal introduction in Waltham in early July. He trekked to Orlando to meet the holdovers from Doc Rivers' coaching staff (Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young) and meet many of the returning players on Boston's roster. He trekked to Louisville soon after to meet point guard Rajon Rondo for the first time.
Stevens has assembled much of his coaching and support staff, with the team set to bring on Ron Adams and Micah Shrewsberry as assistant coaches, while Ronald Nored (player development) and Drew Cannon (stats) will have key roles for the organization. Adams is a longtime NBA assistant who can aid Stevens' transition to the NBA level (most recently he served as Tom Thibodeau's righthand man in Chicago), while the other three have Butler ties that will bring a bit of familiarity to Stevens' new environment.
Stevens has been tasked with a rebuilding project after Boston traded away stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett earlier this summer. While expectations will be low at the onset, the goal in Boston almost always becomes hoisting another championship banner. Stevens is hoping that some of the players that helped put banners in the rafters in the past can help teach his young team how to maintain that tradition.
All those 46 cent stamps were a fine investment as Stevens embarks on his NBA coaching journey in Boston.