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19-Apr-2016 00:41

With Ortiz hanging up the spikes, it’s as if it was meant to be for Horford to come to Boston and take over representing the D. The Celtics have fans worldwide, but this season we’ll probably be introduced to a new contingent who will now root for Al in Boston. And playing for the Celtics, that’s something every kid wanted to do. [Leaving a great situation with the Hawks and moving his family to Boston, just as Stevens left Butler] … Especially when you’ve been in one spot for a long time. And I think you can empathize with that a little bit.” “But this place speaks for itself. He’s got a young family, he’s got a two year-old, another on the way. It was ancient history, according to the narrative, and would not be a factor in choosing where to sign.

Tito Horford: “I think he and his family chose to leave because maybe he wanted to experience a new horizon. They had a great background, history.” “As a father, I’m very proud. I did hit on the fact that I experienced a level of being uncomfortable, and it turned into a really good decision for us, for my family. Furthermore, Boston wasn’t as attractive as Miami or L. Except we learned recently that Al Horford has always been impressed with the Celtics’ winning tradition, and he acknowledges that the franchise history influenced him. To repeat what Horford’s dad said, “…playing for the Celtics, that’s something every kid wanted to do… A great city.” And as for Brad Stevens’ recruiting of free agents, that’s a genius play to relate his own story of cutting ties elsewhere and coming to Boston.

But there’s another side of Horford’s story—and what he brings to his new city—that’s more interesting than defensive switching, or the mechanics of the Atlanta’s offense versus Boston’s. After the Red Sox game, Horford took to Twitter and posted a photo of himself in the clubhouse with stars David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, both of whom, like Horford, come from the Dominican Republic. Horford’s father, Tito, who played for the Bucks in the ’80s, guided that process. You know Boston, they’re very passionate about every sport. Whatever he decided to do, I was going to support him. And hey, you can get that in a lot of different places, I understand.

As it turns out, Al is paying it forward by helping to mentor Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who has roots in the island nation. As a father, that’s my job.” […] Brad Stevens: “I think that was something … But I don’t think Boston takes a backseat to anyone.” Sports Illustrated – Outtakes: Al Horford on picking the Celtics, Brad Stevens on Twitter and more For years, Celtics fans were told that NBA free agents couldn’t care less about the banners hanging in the Garden.

The Red Sox and their fans everywhere spent the weekend paying tribute to David Ortiz, who is retiring at the end of this season’s baseball playoffs.

He never had any conflict with the Hawks, or the players, or the city. When Brad got his contract extension, we all saw it as a benefit toward selling players on his coaching abilities.Clearly, however, his presence and influence are about much more than basketball.

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