WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, an Indianapolis native, admits to being a Colts fan (no easy task for an adopted New Englander), but noted he's also found himself rooting for the Denver Broncos since Peyton Manning signed there in 2012.
All of which leaves Stevens a bit torn as the Colts and Broncos prepare to meet on Sunday night.
"I’ll tell you, that’s a hard game to watch. I’m glad we’re playing," said Stevens, whose Celtics trek to Quebec to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night (6 p.m.) as part of the NBA's Canada Series.
"I grew up in Indianapolis, I was a Colts fan through the Manning era, and got to know all those guys really well," said Stevens. "It would be an interesting game to watch, and I know a lot of my friends are looking forward to going to that game. But like everybody else that grew up in Indiana or has Indiana ties, you have to be thankful for what Peyton Manning did. What he did for that city, it’s unbelievable. That’s a basketball state. And it’s got a huge football bend to it, he had a huge role in that. Downtown, the buildings and everything else, he made such a huge difference. That whole organization did, and they continue to do great things."
Stevens said he finds himself rooting for the individual players and coaches he's met in Indianapolis, even as they disperse across the league.
"You root for who you know," he said. "Thats one of the deals where I know some of the guys that are on the current Colts team, and some of the staff members. I know a couple of the guys that are no longer on those teams that are playing all over the place, not only just with the Broncos. Again, I’m glad I don’t have to watch that one."
Don't fret, Patriots fans. Stevens said earlier in camp that he has a healthy respect for New England, despite the rivalry between the two teams last decade. And, hey, he named his son, Brady, so he can't dislike the Patriots that much.