C's Rookies Unveil 2012-13 Player Choice Grant

Celtics rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson unveiled the 2012-13 Player Choice Grant, a new educational and technology space at the Mildred Avenue School and Community Center in Mattapan.

BOSTON – When Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson were drafted by the Boston Celtics last week, they knew they were going to be a part of a team with 17 World Championships, countless legends and some of the most passionate fans in the NBA. The two rookies were quickly taught what it means to be a Celtic off the court through their first community event at the Mildred Avenue School and Community Center in Mattapan.

Aside from the rookies’ introductory press conference, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation (BCSF) unveiled the 2012-13 Player Choice Grant. Each year, the BCSF asks players to choose the recipient of a $50,000 grant. Last year’s players chose to build a new educational and technology space at the Mildred Avenue complex.

Over the last month, the previously desolate room was turned into a state-of-the-art technology lab and teen center. It was transformed with bright green walls and graphics of Celtics legends including Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin Mchale, Reggie Lewis and Dana Barros, as well as shots of Celtics games and championship banners. The technology lab was equipped with 28 new Apple computers, two 60” TVs and six iPads. The teen room featured two couches, an Xbox, and ping pong and pool tables.

Sixteen lucky children from Mildred Avenue got to attend the rookie press conference and were in awe as they got their first glimpse of their new space and the towering rookies. The children were eager and attentive as they listened to the players’ introductory press conference. Olynyk, who was joined by his parents, talked about his journey to Boston and feelings about being on the team.

“This historic franchise with such great tradition has a vibe and a feeling of a place that you want to be a part of to continue the success and tradition,” he said. Iverson continued the sentiment by adding, “I am excited and thrilled to be here and put in the hard work.”

After the press conference, the two rookies assisted the children with an online scavenger hunt using the new computers. Each group of students had a captain from the Celtics organization; Lucky the Leprechaun, Celtics legend Dana Barros, co-owner Steve Pagliuca and the Celtics rookies. A light hearted moment occurred when Olynyk and Iverson each had to complete pushups with a student sitting on their back as a make-good for the kids answering every single question correctly.

The team captains shared a few words about their feelings on the event. Pagliuca explained the importance of the Celtics work in the community.

“I think it is great to have the players involved in the community right from the get go,” Pagliuca said. “It shows them how important it is to us.”

Olynyk was grateful to be a part of the community event, saying, “One of the best things you can do as a person is put a smile on someone else’s face. To be able to do that out here in the community is great.”

Celtics legend Barros talked about how he grew up just yards from the community center. He explained that no matter how tall you are or where you came from you can be successful through hard work and dedication. He spoke about how special it is to come back to the neighborhood he grew up in and be an example to the children who live there now.

To conclude the event, the children got to take a picture with the Celtics rookies as a keepsake from their unforgettable day. The players left their first official day as Celtics knowing that they had helped unveil a great new technology space that would be used for years to come. That is what being a Celtic is all about.

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