Al Horford is the unofficial sixth starter on the 2023-24 Celtics, never failing to exercise a team-first mindset that spans years throughout the 37-year-old’s six-year run in Boston.

Horford’s commendable locker room energy and presence were both recognized by ex-Boston center Daniel Theis, now of the Los Angeles Clippers, now six years removed from his rookie season with the Celtics. Theis explained the unforgettable impact Horford had when welcoming a then-25-year-old Theis with open arms and everlasting tutelage.

“I remember our first, I think we played Milwaukee, I think it was maybe a preseason game, Al Horford took me right to dinner,” Theis shared on “Podcast P with Paul George” during a guest appearance. “Sat down with me, talked to me about the whole NBA life. What you need to do. Like even if you don’t play, stay ready. Everything. I was so stunned in a positive way. That’s somebody I just met a week ago, two weeks ago. Just takes me to dinner, takes me under his wing and is telling me all about the NBA life.”

At the time, Theis was thrown right into the pressure. The Celtics had just added Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving plus they drafted Jayson Tatum, building up an overflow of hype in Boston. While great for competitive purposes, that still made the NBA transition a challenging process for Theis who was just looking to settle in and find his role.

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Meanwhile, Horford was — and still is — a well-established All-Star-caliber center with years of experience to spread around a young 2017-18 Celtics locker room.

“He’s the OG, he was always (trying) to help out the team,” Theis added. “… He was always there for everybody, really.”

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After a frustrating two-season-long run with the Indiana Pacers, Theis was traded to the Clippers where he’s received a major boost in playing time (17.2 minutes) through 16 games.

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