Celtics, Fans Cheer Return of Departed Eddie House


February 24, 2010

Celtics, Fans Cheer Return of Departed Eddie House Eddie House had heard it all before — his first name chanted over and over again, raining down from the rafters at TD Garden.

Only this time, at first, he couldn't show any emotion.

"I was about to check into the game so I had to focus on what coach was drawing up," House said of the moment midway through the first quarter of Tuesday's Celtic-Knicks game in which a video tribute to his time in Boston was played on the big screen. "I didn't want to get lost in that and come out on the floor and not execute."

But House, who was shipped to New York in a five-player swap last week, found it hard to stay composed. He finally sauntered out of the huddle, waved to the fans who had stood for the better part of two minutes, and then blew a kiss. 

"It was beautiful and I love the fans for the way they showed their love for me, and I have just as much love back for them," said House, who had four points in the Knicks' 110-106 loss. "I loved playing here. It was a great place. What a great run I had here. Winning a championship and having a chance to do it again last year was great. I love the city of Boston."

The 31-year-old House is the epitome of an NBA journeyman, having played for nine teams in 10 seasons. But the 209 games in which he played for Boston are more than any other team, and his clutch shooting and positive attitude struck a chord with Celtics fans.
He also made quite an impression on his teammates, who showed him some of that same love after the video. Kevin Garnett, for one, hugged House as the two teams emerged from the timeout.

"It's just good to have him back in the building," Garnett said.

Ray Allen, who led the Celtics with 24 points, said the emotion was bittersweet.

"I thought [the video] was great," Allen said. "Typically most teams don't like [doing that for other teams' players] but there was no bad blood. Eddie's done great things for this organization, helping us win a championship. I know for him, seeing that montage up there of himself, it's sad."

What better way then to get rid of the goose bumps and stifle the tears than some good old-fashioned trash talk. It started the second House came onto the court, the jaws moving as they once did in practices in Waltham.

House was seen going at it with Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen, among others.

"It was hard to stay serious at times," House said.

All of it was in good fun and House, ever the realist in what has become a nomadic career, had nothing but good things to say of his old mates. He wished them luck, even Nate Robinson, the man that essentially took his roster spot in Boston.

When they break out the "Eddie! Eddie!" chant, it's hard to hold a grudge.

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