Might Joe Mazzulla’s NBA All-Star Speech Make Players Want To Join Celtics?

Mazzulla proved to be a great communicator (and recruiter?)


February 20

When the Boston Celtics announced the promotion and extension of Joe Mazzulla last week, many speculated about the timing given it took place right before Mazzulla and others boarded a plane for the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City.

That speculation and tinfoil hat theorizing, though, might have gained some radioactive waves following the weekend.

After all, Mazzulla proved he’s more than capable of recruiting if the Celtics need it. The coach of Team Giannis on Sunday delivered a passionate, big-picture speech before the NBA All-Star Game. It was a speech that certainly could cause players to gain a favorable impression of Mazzulla, who had a great chance to build relationships during the trip to Utah.

“The reason why I came into the league was to let people know and build a platform of how great of people you are,” Mazzulla told his team prior to tipoff, per the NBA. “You guys don’t get enough credit. People judge you by your basketball and I want to try to help change that for you. And so, the person that you guys are, you’re just as important and I like the individual empowerment. I think that’s important.

“So cherish tonight,” Mazzulla continued. “Know that you guys have inspired me, our staff, our team, our families and the world. I love watching people try and be great. I think that’s the coolest thing. And you are a bunch of guys that just work every day to be great at what you do, and I appreciate that. Thank you.”

It probably also helped the Celtics given that budding superstar Jayson Tatum was named All-Star Game MVP while Boston teammate Jaylen Brown led Team LeBron in scoring, as well.

Mazzulla will be to coach of the Celtics for the foreseeable future after officially taking over for former head coach Ime Udoka. He’s reportedly no longer with the team following Mazzulla’s promotion. The Celtics suspended Udoka in September for at least the 2022-23 campaign due to violations of team policy, reportedly stemming from an improper relationship and making unwanted comments toward a female staffer.

Mazzulla, though, has proved well-deserving given his on-court success, and his ability to connect and build relationships with players was further evident on the league’s biggest stage.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images
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