Even the most avid of Celtics fans probably weren't circling Nov. 5 on their calendars as the day that Tom Thibodeau made his triumphant return to Boston. The Celtics' former assistant coach and de facto "defensive coordinator" under Doc Rivers was respected during his three years in the Hub, but was never exactly beloved.
But now that another former Celtic has enlisted with the Chicago Bulls for next season, fans can eagerly look ahead to early November.
That's right — Brian Scalabrine has a job, and all indications are that he'll make the team and find a place in Thibodeau's rotation in the Windy City. After nine seasons in the NBA, the ride isn't over yet for Scal.
It'll be a joy to welcome him back.
Scalabrine was always a fan favorite throughout his time in Boston, even when he was chucking up ill-advised 3s or worse yet, wasting away at the end of Rivers' bench. While everyone else in Celtic green passed in and out of public favor with each hot streak and each slump, Boston's faith in Scal never wavered.
So naturally, it's only a matter of time before the chants of "Scal-a-bri-ne" reverberate through the TD Garden again.
Boston will have a warm welcome for Thibodeau, who starts his career as a head coach this fall after two decades of paying his dues in the NBA. But the most raucous cheers of all will be for Scal, if and when he makes his way onto the Garden floor in a red and black visitor's uniform.
We'll spend most of the night watching Luol Deng, Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans hold down the fort at small forward for Thibodeau's Bulls. But if the Friday night contest should start to devolve into a blowout, then look for Scalabrine to make an appearance as the Bulls' human surrender flag.
He'll get a rousing ovation from a Garden crowd that remembers an old friend. Because really, how could we ever forget Scal?
We'll remember Scal because he was Boston's favorite cheerleader. (He was also probably the only cheerleader who checked in at 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, but that's beside the point.) Scal was the most encouraging teammate a guy could ask for — whenever a fellow Celtic came up big by hitting a monster shot or making a pivotal defensive stop, Scal was the first guy off the bench to greet them with a high five and a fist pump.
We'll remember him because he always came ready to work. He didn't take for granted that he was part of a championship-caliber team — he worked hard to earn his place on the Celtics, even when his role wasn't a prominent one. He was always in the weight room or on the practice floor, looking to get stronger or get better. And when his number was called, as it was in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center, he was prepared.
We'll remember him because he never griped about playing time, even toward the end when Doc Rivers slid him to the end of the bench and eventually off the active roster. He was simply happy to be a Celtic, and he cherished the time he had in Boston while it lasted.
We'll remember Scal for a long time, and we'll remember him fondly. Come November, we might even chant his name a few times.