Shabazz Napier Will Always Bleed Green
WALTHAM, Mass. – Many things have changed for Shabazz Napier over the past 15 years, but one constant in his life is the fact that he bleeds green.
Napier, who was born and raised in nearby Roxbury, Mass., grew up idolizing the Celtics. His love for basketball was just heating up during the good ol’ days of Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker.
Monday morning provided the 22-year-old with an opportunity to walk the same walk as his former childhood heros. He was at Boston’s practice facility to participate in their latest pre-Draft workout.
Napier revealed to reporters that this was the second time he had ever been inside the facility. The first instance occurred shortly after the facility opened its doors in 1999.
“The last time I can remember being here was when I was young, at the Antoine Walker camp. I was really, really young then,” Napier said, later clarifying that he was either eight or nine years old at the time. “So to come back and actually work out for the Celtics is definitely extraordinary.”
So extraordinary, in fact, that his second appearance at his favorite team’s facility felt just like the first. Napier was in awe – again – at the history that surrounded him.
“I came in last night to shoot a little bit, and for about a good five or 10 minutes I looked around at the banners,” he said. “Just a warm feeling. It’s the Celtics. Growing up a Boston fan, you get those chills every time you watch the game. So it took me about five or 10 minutes to realize I was here.”
Being there was different for Napier than it was for the rest of Monday’s workout group. He found out quickly that he was the only member of the group who had a true understanding of what it meant to be associated with this organization.
“I was watching one of the films in [the locker room] that they put up and one of the guys was like, ‘Why were folks crying when Paul Pierce injured himself in the playoffs and got taken off the court?’” Napier recalled. “I said, ‘Man, that’s Boston. You won’t ever understand it until you either play in Boston or you’ve lived in Boston. That’s just how we are. We love our teams and there’s no bandwagon fans in Boston. Whether we have a great year or not, we’re going to support like it’s the best team we’ve got.’”
The reaction was priceless.
“He was just like, ‘Man, Boston’s crazy,’” Napier continued with a smile. “And I said, ‘That’s who we are. We’re just some crazy fans that want nothing but the best for our teams.’”
Such is still the case to this day for Napier. Yes, he is working out for other NBA teams. And yes, the odds are that he’ll wind up beginning his career with another franchise. But unless he’s sitting on the opposite sideline from the Celtics during a game, he’s rooting for the green and white.
“I wouldn’t be able to say I bleed green if I didn’t say that,” Napier proudly stated. “In the back of your mind, if the Celtics are in the championship game and I’m not playing, of course I’m rooting for them. That’s just how I am.”
And that’s how he always will be. Napier will be bleeding green for life.