Why Danny Ainge Rejected Celtics President, GM Job Twice Before Accepting

Leading the Boston Celtics always has been a family affair for Danny Ainge.

The Celtics president of basketball operations and general manager revealed this week to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn why he rejected Boston’s initial approaches for his executive services. Shortly after assuming ownership of the Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca offered Ainge the job twice early 2003, but he said no because his role as an analyst on TNT’s NBA broadcast suited him and his family well. Aingee wasn’t too keen on changing their lifestyles in order to return to the cauldron of NBA competition.

“They (Grousbeck and Pagliuca) told me that (former Celtics president) Red (Auerbach) had recommended that they hire me,” Ainge told Washburn. “I was flattered and I told them thank you. My three older kids had graduated from high school. I have my three youngest at home, so life is a little bit different. I told them I was not interested in the job and I gave them names of people in the league and some former Celtic players they should interview.

“I didn’t jump at it. It wasn’t anything I was looking to really do. As time went on, they had come a second time and a third time while I was broadcasting. I sensed my wife was warming up to the idea. Eventually, I said yes.”

After further consideration, Ainge finally accepted the job in May 2003 and immediately began laying the foundations for the team’s future success. He has held the president/GM job ever since, and his most notable achievements include the Celtics winning the NBA Finals in 2008 and the Sporting News naming him NBA Executive of the Year.

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