BOSTON — Brad Stevens will be a man conflicted Sunday night as he watches the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts square off for a spot in the Super Bowl.
The Celtics coach works and lives in Boston, after all, and has spent the past year and a half embedded deep in Patriots Nation. On the other hand, Stevens is an Indy boy at heart, having grown up just north of the city in Zionsville, Ind.
That’s put him in a bit of a pickle.
“So, I grew up for 33 years in Indianapolis, right?” Stevens said before Friday’s Celtics matchup with the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden. “I have a lot of friends there, and if I say the wrong team, they’ll all be mad at me. And I work here, so if I say the wrong team, they’ll all be mad at me.
“I know this, I’ve gotten a kick out of listening to both sides of the coin talk about their hatred for the other from a fandom standpoint, because I know a lot of people in each organization now that I greatly respect. I’m sad that some of those people have to lose and won’t be able to play again after Sunday. But those organizations are a lot alike, I hate to break that to everybody. They’re high-level organizations who are always there for a reason.”
“I guess now I made everybody mad,” he concluded, smiling.
Stevens said that while he never has personally met his Patriots counterpart, Bill Belichick, he has communicated with the coach via text message on several occasions. It’s a relationship that makes it tough for Stevens to root against the Patriots, no matter the opponent.
“Just shared quite a few texts with him, and he’s been great to me,” Stevens said. “Again, that’s why — once you get a chance to know people on each side, you know how much they’re putting into it. You know how much they’re giving to it. And you hate to see either side come up short, because I have friends on both sides.”
Some of those friends will be a whole lot happier than others when the dust settles Sunday night in Foxboro.
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images