There’s constant talk around the Boston Celtics organization about title No. 18. Ever since the late spring of 2008, the organization has begun its quest for the franchise’s 18th banner to be hung in the TD Garden rafters.
In Boston, teams don’t play for mediocrity. They play for hardware.
Over the past decade, the Celtics have gotten within arms reach of the ultimate prize numerous times, upgrading the roster and personnel every offseason in their pursuit to be all in on a championship. This summer, that was no different — Brad Stevens added Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis to the arsenal in what appears to be two franchise-altering moves.
Besides the roster additions and a refocused plan of attack this fall, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzula is doing his part to better his group ahead of Wednesday’s season opener against New York. And it has nothing to do with X’s and O’s.
The second-year head coach wants to capture Banner 18 by bringing Banner 17 to life. Ahead of training camp, Mazzula sent out an email to various Boston Celtics alumni as an open invitation to attend practice whenever they wanted. So far, many ex-Celtics have taken him up on that offer, especially those from the 2008 team. Paul Pierce, Eddie House, and Leon Powe have already stopped by the Auerbach Center this fall. Rajon Rando is the latest Celtic to make an appearance at practice.
“I sent an email out to all the Celtic former players because I felt like it’s important that we share in this experience together,” Mazzula told Marc D’Amico following a practice earlier this month. “Like, they started this tradition, they kept it going, and now it’s our responsibility as an organization to keep it alive.”
As the Boston Celtics prepare for their opening night matchup with New York on Wednesday, players up and down the roster have gotten hands-on experience with players who know what it takes to reach the top of the NBA. Among others, Jaylen Brown was honored to practice alongside Rondo earlier this week.
“It’s so cool having these guys come around and be a part of practice and be a part of the organization,” Brown said after practice on Monday.
Present Boston Celtics roster must pay homage to last title team to unlock potential
In order to be successful in the future, the present-day Boston Celtics need to understand what made the franchise successful in the past. That’s the kind of intangible Mazzulla is excited to bring to his locker room this season.
When Brown and Co. sport the classic Kelly-green uniforms on the parquet this season, they are representing the entire rooted history of the organization with every dribble, pass, and shot they make.
The 2007-2008 Celtics posted a daunting 66-16 regular season slate en route to the NBA’s best record that season. Will the 2023-24 Celtics be able to channel their inner-2008 come June? Only time will tell.