Al Horford no longer is putting up the numbers he did in the prime of his NBA career, but his impact on the Celtics remains invaluable.

Horford teammates never hesitate to express as much, and Jayson Tatum did so before a career highlight for the veteran forward. The 38-year-old was instrumental in helping Boston capture the 18th championship in franchise history, and Tatum on Friday explained how Horford instilled the right habits in the team before its memorable 2023-24 campaign commenced.

“It starts from the top, down. For me, it’s always been Al,” Tatum said before the Celtics’ championship parade, per an NBA video. “Al’s been the first guy in the gym. He’s always taking care of his body. That just sets the tone. He’s always in the weight room, always getting treatment. Doing whatever he can to make himself available for us. If he’s doing that, we all have to.”

Horford figures to do more of the same for the Celtics in the coming months. While the 17-year pro hasn’t provided an official word on his future plans, C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck on Tuesday revealed Horford’s intention to return to Boston for the 2024-25 season.

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