Throughout the season, Delonte will be checking in regularly with Celtics.com to update his Rookie Diary, discussing what's going on with the team, life as a rookie in the NBA, and as an avid movie-goer will even pass on some movie tips.
- August 12, 2005
- June 9, 2005
- April 27, 2005
- March 29, 2005
- March 3, 2005
- February 3, 2005
- January 7, 2004
- December 2, 2004
- November 11, 2004
August 12, 2005
Hey there everyone. I hope you all have been enjoying your summer and it's been relaxing. I've been enjoying some time off and having a chance to visit with my family and friends, and travel to different places.
Since the last time I we spoke I have been back and forth between Boston, Philly and Washington, DC. I was up in Boston on June 17th where Al Jefferson and I had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch before the Red Sox - Pittsburgh Pirates game. This was my first time ever in a major league ballpark, and it was great that it happened to be in Fenway Park on the field of the World Champions. It was a unique experience, and after that I was able to appreciate the sense of pressure a pitcher must feel, with everyone staring at him. I had a lot of fun that night throwing out the pitch and watching the game, and I can honestly say that I am now a converted Red Sox fan.
I was also in town for the NBA Draft, and it was good to hang out with all of the people that make the Celtics organization move forward. It was also great to meet with our fans and spend some time with them. A lot of my young teammates were also there, so it was fun to sit together and hear the announcement of who we selected and see everyone's reaction.
I have been really dedicated to my off-season workouts, and basically taking the opportunity to play basketball wherever and whenever I can find a court and a ball. My brother and I like to play one-on-one in the dark to help get a feel for where the basket is - it helps develop my court awareness. I'll go out at 10 pm in the pitch black and just play - eventually my eyes adjust, but it really does help my game. I have also been working out with our strength and conditioning coaches - Walter Norton Jr. and Bryan Doo - when I am in Boston, and next week I am headed to Atlanta to work out with Shareef Abdur-Rahim - he has a gym in his house and has intense workout sessions down there.
Summer League in Vegas went really well. Even though we lost two games, I feel it went well because the young guys really clicked. We had something different - a sense of a winning attitude. I know we had it last year, but this was just different, something more. And those two games we lost, we knew we could have won those. It's not like we were blown out or anything. I spoke up about our team play after one of the losses, and held myself responsible, too, because winning as a team starts by looking in the mirror. Everyone has to hold themselves responsible, and be comfortable with their teammates offering constructive criticism. I wasn't the only one to speak up, but it's good that we were all upset with the way we were playing because it is good progress for us as a team. As for me, I've been a vocal leader my whole life in everything I do - whether its team sports, my personal household or my family. I tend to be the voice of reason, so I am ready to step up if necessary.
It was also great to see our veterans out in Vegas - Paul, Ricky and Marcus. Marcus even practiced with us one day when he didn't have to, which was really nice. Those guys being there to support us shows that they really get it and that our team is growing and coming together. Of course with Antoine being traded that is part of the business. 'Toine brings more to the team than what he does on the court, and we will miss that. But that is part of the business of professional basketball that I am just beginning to learn about.
Another thing I was able to do this summer was play in Alonzo Mourning's charity event in Miami - Zo's Summer Groove. My agent set this up for me, and it was a great opportunity for me for a couple of different reasons. First of all, when I was in the locker room stretching and getting ready for the game, I had a chance to talk with Tim Hardaway and Sam Cassell about being a point guard in the NBA. The one-on-one time with those two guys is invaluable and I know it will help me a lot in my career. I also had a chance to do some moves on the court with 'Zo, which was a lot of fun. But it was also great to see how Alonzo has impacted the communities in each city he has played in. I hope that once I have established myself both personally and professionally I am able to have that sort of impact on the community and the people around me.
Most recently I have been in Washington, DC spending time with my friends and family as I prepare for this season. To the Kenner League in Georgetown - sorry I didn't have a chance to play with you guys this summer. I also want to give a shoutout to Big L from Madness as well as the other teams I normally play with - Bone Alldaz and all the Urban Clothing wear that looked out for me in the Roosevelt and St. Joe's days. One dolla holla.
Today I had a chance to talk at the second Celtics Youth Basketball Camp of the summer. It was great to get out there and see those kids who are working on their skills and developing their game. But I had a message for them that was more important than dribbling and shooting - something that was weighing heavy on my heart, and that they can take off the court. I hope they were listening and take it with them and remember.
I'd also like to take a moment to remember a guy I know, a basketball player from Temple University who was tragically murdered this week, and send out my thoughts, prayers and love to his family.
I'd like to give a shoutout to the Addison crew - Jackie, Stephanie, Eric, Lil' Eric and Lil' Derrick. Lil' Marcus and Lil' Chris - keep hitting that punching bag. Grandpa - please stop telling that same train story! Uncle Mark - thanks for cooking at the family BBQ. Quintez and Clifton- I enjoyed spending time with you recently, let's do it again real soon. Same time - 4 pm for Sponge Bob. And I'll get you that slide real soon. Dino - stop worrying about a dirt bike and write another song, "Bobby."
Pop for the West family - Sorry I didn't make it to the annual father's day BBQ, I haven't been able to make it down to Virginia as much as I wanted to this summer. And to Ricardo Harris - just remember that you are a little man working in a big building downtown.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to Ms. Lieberman's third grade class from last year at South Lawrence East School - I know you all are going to have a different teacher next year, but I hope you still keep in touch. School is only a few weeks away, so don't forget to set your alarm nice and early that day, get up and take a good shower and look nice on the first day. And here's a fashion tip: the side part is the new fad this year.
Before I forget, I've seen some great movies over the summer that I think you all should check out. "Hustle and Flow" was great, so was the "Wedding Crashers", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Four Brothers."
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I'll talk to you guys soon. And get ready for Celtics basketball - the 2005-06 season will be here before you know it!
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June 9, 2005
What's up everyone? I apologize it's been a long time since I talked to you all, but I needed some time after the playoffs... it's been a month now and I am still a little upset with how things ended. It's been hard - especially watching the Eastern Conference Finals between Detroit and Miami - I just feel like we really would have matched up well against the Pistons if we would have had a chance to play them in the second round. I really feel we could have beaten them in a seven game series... but I guess it wasn't meant to be this season. But I will watch the NBA Finals - you are going to see some good basketball between the Spurs and the Pistons. I think Detroit will win it all - they just have too much firepower and more scoring threats.
Recently I've been down in my hometown of Washington, D.C. working out with my high school coach, and in Philly working out at St. Joseph's. I'm back in Boston for a little bit working out with the Celtics trainers and assistant coaches, and plan on going back and forth during the off-season. After our playoffs ended, I took five days off without touching a basketball. I just enjoyed staying home and relaxing - something I don't get to do too much of. Then we went to Vegas with 'Toine and my teammates to see the Winky Wright fight. 'Toine took care of us rookies real good and paid for everything, which was nice. So, thanks 'Toine! And then for Memorial Day weekend I went down to Miami with Perk, Al and Ricky for a little change in environment and to enjoy the nice weather.
But now it's back to business - since Thursday of last week I've been in the gym hard. Everyone on the team is still working hard. The young guys are all working out at home or up here, which is good news for the franchise and for our fans. Personally, there are a few things I am focused on this summer: shooting wise I want to work on my mid-range game. Most importantly, by the end of the summer I want to be as strong and comfortable going to my right as I am to my left. I also want to add some size, muscle and strength, but without bulking up too much. I have a solid plan for the summer, but the hardest part is getting to the gym. When you don't have a schedule, it is so easy to sleep in and not get up early. You have to discipline yourself and get to work early.
Coming home to D.C. as an NBA player was an interesting experience. People were used to seeing me as a good basketball player when I was younger in D.C., but now as an NBA player they assume you have unlimited money. I'm lucky that I roll with a tight circle that has been the same since the fourth grade, and always look out for my best interests. So they know what's going on and don't let me get into any trouble.
As for the rest of the summer, I have a few things going on other than working out hard. I am going to do a basketball camp in Jamaica at the end of the month. I am really excited about that because I have never been outside of the United States (except to play the Raptors up in Toronto, of course). And of course I will be watching the draft really close - my good buddy Eddie Basden is working out in Chicago right now, and I hope he is doing well with everything. Also, my former teammate Pat Carroll was in for a workout last week, so it was good to see him. I hope everything works out for both of them on draft night, and wish them both good luck.
I am really looking forward to Summer League, and getting out to Vegas again. It will be nice to play against some real competition - I mean, I can only defeat MJ so many times in these imaginary games. It's getting boring hitting the game winning shot over him every game! So playing in real games will be nice. And then my birthday is at the end of July (July 26th - I'll turn 22) - and every year I have a nice party to celebrate with all of my friends. So all in all, it should be a nice summer.
You know, when thinking about this season, I know that I wasn't able to play to my capability, which is why I am so excited to (hopefully) come in healthy this season. I really believe that injuries played into my psyche, because it is hard to convince yourself to reuse a limb you have broken that it has healed again, and that it is ok to go out and do all of the same physical activities as before.
The one thing I did think went well for me was the transition from the college game to the NBA game. I have always enjoyed playing against tougher and older competition - I was always the little one on the court and I thrived in those situations. The off-the court transition was a little harder, but I definitely feel like my college experience helped prepare me for this, because in college you don't just get your classroom experience, but you also get "life experience." I was used to living on my own when I came up here because I had my own apartment for three years in college. But the hard adjustment in the pros is that we have a lot of free time, and there is a lot of temptation. So you really have to work and stay focused.
Before I say goodbye for the summer, I want to say hello to the kids in Ms. Lieberman's third grade class at South Lawrence East School. Thanks for your support this season, and I enjoyed getting to know all of you. Finish the school year strong, and don't let the warm weather distract you from your schoolwork.
I also want to give a shout out to my guardian angel from Philly, Harold Rasul - known all around the Philly area as "H" - and to Yah Davis. They are both great pros and both pushed me over the top while I was at St. Joe's.
Finally, I've seen a couple of movies recently that I wanted to tell you about... I enjoyed "The Longest Yard" and "The Diary of a Mad Black Woman." I recommend both of those. However, I didn't like "Kingdom of Heaven." I think "Braveheart" and "Troy" set the standard for those types of movies, and this one was too much of a love story - by the end, you forgot what they were fighting about.
Thanks again for checking in with me all season, and for supporting the Celtics. Take care of yourselves over the summer. I'll talk to you all again in the fall as we get ready for the 2005-06 season!
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April 27, 2005
What's up everyone? Well, since I talked to you guys last month, a lot has happened for the Celtics. We won the Atlantic Division, clinched a playoff berth and home court advantage. Although we didn't finish up the regular season the way we wanted to (we lost both of our last two games vs. Cleveland and New Jersey), in all we were pretty happy with the results.
It was a tough stretch for me because I jammed my thumb on my left hand. I was especially disappointed because it happened in practice right before we went to Philadelphia. Now you guys know I played college ball there, and you might remember that I missed playing down there during our first road trip because I had broken my thumb. So of course I jam the thumb on my shooting hand and need a day to heal, which just happened to be the day of the Philly game. I could have played - I was suited up and ready to go, but I couldn't really catch the ball with my left hand, which is my dominant hand. So with the playoffs coming up and everything, Coach Rivers wanted to rest me. I knew it was for the best, but I was still disappointed. The trip to Philly was still fun because I did get to catch up with Coach Martelli and Coach Ross. I even had a chance to go back and visit some old friends at St. Joseph's. It's always good to go back there and catch up with some of my old friends.
When the Celtics drafted me, I didn't really know what to expect, but when I arrived in Boston for training camp and began working out with the guys, I knew we had a chance to surprise a lot of people. I knew from the jump we had something special, and then when we added 'Toine, and GP returned, it just really took off. And now that we are in the playoffs, everything is just more intense. Practice is more intense, and our concentration level is up a lot more. Personally I'm not really nervous, I'm just enjoying the atmosphere. This is what we play for, and this is what every kid dreams about - playing in the big game, taking that last shot and winning it all. This is what it's all about, this right here.
My mom and girlfriend were in town for the first two games of the series against the Pacers, so for the first game I came home after shootaround and just took a long nap. My mom woke me up a few hours before the game and had lunch ready for me - a ham and cheese sandwich with some barbecue chips and a Sunny D... it reminded me of lunch when I was a kid. I was a little anxious because there was definitely more excitement around this game than usual, but I tried to treat it like any other game.
And that's what we did - we went out there and played it like any other game. I was warned in detail about playing against Reggie, so I kind of knew what to expect. But having a chance to guard Reggie Miller is a memory I am always going to hold on to, especially with this being his last season. Reggie is someone I grew up watching, so it was a pretty special moment for me to be able to go up against him.
As a team, we were pretty confident going into game two. In the playoffs, you have to make the other team adjust to you, which is what we did to the Pacers. In the second game, they did that to us, and the tide turned. We just weren't able to get back to our game plan and execute. But you fans shouldn't worry. For game three we know we have to execute the game plan. We also know the crowd in Indy will be loud and animated. So we plan to bring our own energy and stay together.
That's really all I have for you guys right now... I probably won't have a chance to stop by again before the playoffs are over, but I will check-in before the off-season.
Before I go, here are a couple of movies I saw recently and enjoyed: A Lot like Love was pretty good, and Amityville Horror was really good, too.
Finally, I have to say hello to the kids in Miss Lieberman's class at South Lawrence East School - you guys finish strong so you can have a good summer. Also, hi to Uncle Mark and the crew, and get well to my brother Calvin out in Chi town. And of course, hello to all of my little nieces, nephews and cousins - I didn't forget about you.
And little Derrick "he ain't got no forehead, he's got a fivehead..." and my brother Dino for being strong and doing it the right way. "Basically, what I'm trying to say is you got 'bout $5 I can borrow?" ha, ha.
Thanks to all of the fans who continue to come out and support us... I hope to see you guys at the Fleet throughout the playoffs. I'll talk to you all again later.
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March 29, 2005
Hello again... my goodness, March has been a crazy month for us! The last time I spoke to you all, we had just traded for 'Toine, and GP was on his way to Atlanta. We were hoping he would come back, but we weren't sure it was really going to happen. Well, as everyone knows by now, he is back and our team went on quite a roll, winning 11 of 12 games before we hit a small bump in the road.
A lot of people wanted to know my reaction to GP coming back, especially since it meant that I wouldn't be starting anymore. I would have loved to continue to be a starter, but I am still able to contribute and that's all that matters, especially as a rookie. Gary brings good leadership to our team, and helps keep us going. He keeps the pace up, which helps keep me ready for when I enter the game.
When we got back from our West Coast road trip, we put a nice little run together at home. We went 5-1 (losing only to Minnesota), and we really started to come together as a team. And although we have lost three straight, we are still going to be ok. Once we started winning, other teams started gunning for us. They started coming after us, and we weren't ready for that. But right now we are playing with more intensity. You can see it in the locker room - there is a passion in everyone's eyes. We all want to win... we see the light at the end. We know what's at stake - we've talked about the playoffs. See, that was part of the problem with these last three games. We knew the playoffs were out there - and we got caught up in that instead of focusing on our opponent. We were looking behind us, seeing who was chasing us in the standings, who our first round opponent might be. But now we have our focus back. We know what the agenda at hand is, and are more on the same page. We know where the focus needs to be, and that we need to follow the old cliche - one game at a time, one opponent at a time.
I am such a competitive person, that when we lose it really affects me personally. I will go home and think about the game all night, going over the plays in my head, wondering if I made that one play that cost us the game. I'm still getting used to playing an 82-game schedule... I'm not used to playing so many games, and losing so many. But when I look at where we are now, I know we are doing ok. For me, though, it's going to take a lot to ever get used to the feeling of losing at anything. When I was younger, I used to share a room with my older brother - until I was in the 10th grade. He's a year older than me, and we were competitive at everything... these days we still compete, but only at video games.
We had this past Sunday off for Easter, and it was real nice because my mom - Sweet Dell - and granddad were in town. My mother came into town for a week to help me get settled into my new place, which was really nice. Of course she tried to help me with some home decorating, which I had to stop, especially when she tried to add a little feminine touch with some pink flowers in a vase. Sorry mom, but I had to throw those out. I can't have any pink flowers in my apartment! Anyway, she took good care of me all week, cooking me some big meals. And then my granddad, he just decided to come on up for a visit. My mom's dad, Henry Addison, is 81 years old and used to work for Amtrak. So he is able to take the train whenever he wants, and just showed up in Boston and called my mom to tell her he was in town. I came back from the New York game and found him sitting in my living room! Every morning when he was here he would get up at 5 am and walk two miles to the store for some coffee. I love my granddad, but he must have told me the same story eight times in two days about the adventures he had while working on the trains...
Anyway, on Easter I went to church with Tony Allen and the pastor gave us a private communion. Since Easter signifies a new beginning, I am going to make it my goal to cut sin out of my life and walk a new path. This week my sister - Danielle (aka Lil' Danny/ Lil' Diva/ Tweety Bird - she gives herself a new nickname all the time) is visiting. She just turned 16, so I am looking forward to spending some quality time with her and showing her around Boston and just being a good big brother for a while. She and I haven't really had any time to just talk so hopefully we'll have some time to do that this week while she's up here visiting.
Before I go, I have to say hi to a couple of people. I want to say hello to my cousin Crystal and all the fams - they call me after every play and leave me a message on my cell phone telling me either I'll get the next play or I did good on the last one. Between them, Sweet Dell and Lil' Diva, I have at least 20 messages after every game to go through! But it's great...
Also want to say hi to my brother Clifton. I haven't seen his little big head in a couple of months, and I miss him. And little "Q," who used to keep me company up in Boston and help me pick out my cereal after practice. I miss you too!
And to the kids in Miss Lieberman's class at South Lawrence East School - it was great meeting you all a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for coming to my game and cheering for me - I saw you all up there in the stands. I hope you did well on your test, and although I'm going to be real busy over the next couple of weeks, maybe I can try and make it out to visit you again after the playoffs end before school lets out.
Of course, I have to wish good luck to St. Joe's - they play Memphis tonight in the NIT Semifinals. Even though they didn't make the NCAA Tournament this year, I've still been keeping up with the games, especially since they've been so exciting. I think Michigan State just might be able to pull it off, but you never know which way it's going to go. But with St. Joe's out of it, I couldn't fill out a bracket sheet. I just couldn't do it.
(NOTE: St. Joseph's defeated Memphis, 70-58 on Tuesday night to reach the NIT Finals. They will face South Carolina for the tournament championship on Thursday. Best of luck to the Hawks!)
Finally, here are my movie reviews. I saw two new movies, and didn't really like either one of them. The Ring II wasn't very good - I didn't think it was that scary. And Be Cool (the sequel to Get Shorty) was just ok.
Thanks again for all of your support this season, and I'll try to talk to you guys soon.
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March 3, 2005
Hello there everyone... I hope you all are doing well. I am sorry it's been so long since I've been in touch, but things have been pretty busy around here. The month of February was pretty busy for us - we had some home games at the beginning of the month and then a nice break during the All-Star game. I spent that weekend going all over the place... first I flew down to Philly and visited some of my old friends and former teammates at St. Joseph's. Jameer was there, too and so were the guys who are seniors now so that was a lot of fun. It's always good to see those guys and catch up. Then the next day I took the train to Washington, DC and spent the day with my mom and little sister and helped them move in to the house I just got them. It was great to spend some time with them... I told you guys before that my mom is one of my best friends - I call her "Sweet Dell" and my little sister is "Little Diva." So after spending some time with them I flew out to Los Angeles and stayed out there for a few days. I ended up getting to LA two days before I had to meet up with the team for our West Coast road trip, so I hung out with some friends who live in Beverly Hills and was able to see how "the other half lives." Man, it was nice out there! It rained pretty much the whole time, but at least it was warm!
I did watch the Rookie Challenge on TV at the ESPN Zone, and I was really surprised when I saw Al walking out onto the court! I had no idea they had added him on to the team, but I was real happy for him and for Tony. They represented us real well... I was a little upset because I feel if I wasn't hurt that I might have made the team, too but I am just going to focus on the rest of this season. There is always the Sophomore team. But between Tony and Al at the Rookie game and then Paul during the All-Star game, the Green and White represented really well that weekend.
The road trip got off to a rocky start... we had a bad game in LA and then another pretty bad game in Denver. The day after the Denver game was the trade deadline and that is when stuff started to happen with the guys on the team. We had been hearing the rumors about Jiri, so that wasn't really unexpected. But the one with GP, Googs and Yogi took us all by surprise. We came down for breakfast on Friday (the day after the trade) and Doc told us what happened... I looked over and saw Antoine sitting there and I was shocked. But it's real exciting to have 'Toine here, especially with the type of player that he is and the energy that he brings. I am going to miss GP; it was great to have his leadership. Anytime you can be around someone who has been through trials and situations like he has and is willing to share them with you, you can learn a lot from them. The most important thing he told me was to stick with the basics and to keep doing the things that I did to get here, and not to over complicate things... But, you know, now that Atlanta has waived him, I hope he comes back. The locker room is pretty quiet without him.
Since I played well in Denver (despite the loss) I figured I might start against Utah. I didn't find out until the walkthrough at shoot around that morning, and I was pretty excited. You always remember your first start - the first time you start your varsity high school game, your first college start and your first NBA start. You might not remember the specifics or the events, but you definitely remember when and where it was. I wasn't nervous, because this is what I train to do every day. I come to work so that I can be ready to produce when the team needs me. Just because I am starting doesn't mean that anything changes - it's just a new role with more responsibility.
With that responsibility comes more media attention. Some people don't like doing the interviews or talking, but I don't mind it. I know that without the fans, there is no us (as players). So I am always happy to answer the questions and let the media know what is going on in my mind and answer what they want to know. But they are definitely asking me more questions now then they did before.
So when I found out I was starting, I called my mom (Sweet Dell). Now I have a big family - my mom is one of 10 brothers and sisters, so I have about 200 relatives in the DC area (cousins, extended cousins, etc.). Within minutes of hanging up the phone with my mom, my cell phone was ringing off the hook with DC and Virginia area codes... she was calling everyone telling them that I was starting that night. And of course, she and my sister (Little Diva) were calling me throughout the game cheering me on or offering me words of encouragement. They like to call me during the game and leave me voicemail messages - usually I'll turn my phone on and have 8-10 messages from them - my sister talking with my mom screaming and cheering in the background, and then my sister will say "ok, you just scored we gotta go we'll call you later." Or, if coach takes me out of the game, they'll call me and say, "Coach just took you out and you have your head down, don't worry about it," and tell me not to be upset. They are my biggest fans and my number one cheerleaders.
After Utah it was on to Phoenix, where we beat the Suns in overtime. That was definitely a physical game - I hit the floor hard twice. Once when Amare took me down and once going to get possession of the ball. The first play with Amare, that was just part of the game. I think it was a couple of plays later, after some one took a few foul shots or something we were walking up the court and we both looked at each other and nodded, as if to say "You ok?" There wasn't anything to it other than it just being in the heat of the game.
On the second play, the one late in the game, that was just natural instinct. Right before that inbounds pass, I had asked Doc in the huddle how many timeouts we had left and he said we had one more to use. When I saw the ball on the floor, I knew we had to get control of it, so I just dove down there and grabbed the ball, and my natural reaction was to call the timeout. It just happened. I didn't think about it or anything, I just did it. The only thing is that I really scraped up my knees pretty bad on that one.
And that was our road trip. Overall, it ended pretty good - we went 2-2 and definitely finished on an upswing. This was my first long road trip (I missed the first West Coast trip because I had hurt my hand), and one of the things I noticed was that we really need to work hard on finding ways to keep our energy level up. When you are getting on and off planes every other day, and playing games in between, it's hard to balance the time and get the right amount of rest in. For the most part I tried to focus on basketball, both mentally and physically.
So that's it for this entry. Before I wrap up I have two quick things. First - my movie recommendations. I saw "Hitch" and it was really funny. It was a great, feel good movie. "Million Dollar Baby" was also very good. It is sad, but you should still go and see it. I also saw "Constantine" which was supposed to be very scary. It was just ok.
Second, I have a message for the students in Miss. Lieberman's third grade class at South Lawrence East School. I know school is almost over, and that you guys have been doing well so far. Finish the year out strong so you can enjoy the summer and have some fun. I want you guys to get lots of rest and do well on your MCAS tests.
Everyone take care and I'll talk to you soon. Thanks for continuing to support the Celtics and I hope to see you at a game real soon!
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February 3, 2005
Hey everyone... I hope you are all doing ok and surviving this winter and the snow. Now that the holidays are over, everything seems to have calmed down. I am back practicing with the team, which is great. At first, practice was a little awkward for me... when I broke my right hand I damaged the nerves of two of the fingers. So I had to work on getting my rhythm back at practice and feeling comfortable again. Right now, things are more steady, and I am even getting some playing time.
When coach calls my name to go in to the game I am just ready to go out and contribute and get into the flow of the game. Standing at the Scorer's Table I usually take a quick look at who is out on the floor, which player I will be guarding, who has the hot hand for our team and who on their team is playing well. Then I will go through any plays that I might think will work well with the flow of the game - all of which I have been keeping track of from the bench. So in that split second I am standing there, a lot has to go through my mind before I walk on to the court. Some people wonder if I hear the fans when I am out there. I love the fans - you guys are great. We have a nice union between the players and fans, and always appreciate the support we receive. But when I am on the court I have to stay focused and worry about getting my job done.
Getting into the lineup is a little tough right now. Since everyone works hard I have to push myself to work harder and harder and harder. It means spending extra time in the gym - being the first one there and the last one to leave when practice is over. Hard work is part of any sport, but I really enjoy the work that goes into it. Some people only enjoy playing the game, but I like the preparation part, too. I enjoy those times I am alone in the gym, working on a certain aspect of my game... when the game becomes easier to play, you remember all those hours in the gym. Justin Reed and I also work together - he is in a similar position where we both have a lot to work on. It is good to have Justin around because we push each other to work harder, and point out to each other what they need to work on. It is important for me to have someone like that, and we have a good time going up against each other trying to improve our game.
So I thought I would tell you all what a regular day is like in the life of an NBA player. We usually have practice in the late morning or early afternoon... around 11 am or noon. Practice will last about two hours, so after that I head home. Today, for instance, I am looking forward to getting home and settling into my new massage chair I bought from Sharper Image. You know how you walk by the store window and see the chair, or go into the store and sit in one and try it out? Well, I finally bought one. Anyway, when I get home today, my three year-old nephew will probably be camped out in the chair waiting for me. Since I'm just a boy at heart, I really enjoy spending time with "Q" - he calls me Uncle Redz (my nickname is Redz) - playing with him and watching him grow. Usually when I walk into the house we go over to the pantry and pick out some cereal - I will lift him up so he can reach the top shelf and pick out what we are going to eat that day. After that, we settle in to watch some cartoons - usually the Cartoon Network or Spiderman (which we have seen a million times). And that's it... pretty normal.
I do want you all to know that I don't just eat cereal. I have a great chef - Antaun Teasley, or "Young Chef." He is Ricky's chef, but he also takes care of all the players. He is the man - the best cook in Boston. Sometimes all the young guys will get together at someone's house, and we will all chip in to have Antaun come over and cook us some dinner. He lays out an amazing spread - it's like Thanksgiving or something. He'll cook us up some catfish, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, cabbage, fried chicken, fried codfish, salmon and mashed potatoes. He is amazing - if anyone is ever interested in having someone come to their house and cook them a serious meal, you should call "Young Chef."
Like I mentioned, the young guys hang out together a lot. Most of us don't have a routine down yet, and it is nice to have a good, home cooked meal once in a while. After dinner we hang out and play some video games - I am still the team champion at NBA Live 2005. Tony Allen thinks he can beat me, but he hasn't been able to do it yet. And yesterday I beat Justin by 46 points!
I am looking forward to the All-Star break coming up in a few weeks. Of course everyone wants to be an All-Star, but for me it wasn't in God's plans this year. I think we have two or three guys that should be representing the team during the festivities out in Denver, but if T.A. is the only guy we have, I am fine with that. I am proud that Tony will be holding it down for the rest of us rookies here in Boston. But more important than becoming an All-Star, I want to win a championship ring. The day I get that ring, I am going to hang it on a shoelace and tie it around my neck. Then I'm going to get a pair of the sunglasses that Dwayne Wayne wore in the show "A Different World" and visit ever state in the country on a moped wearing nothing but the ring, those sunglasses and a pair of Chuck Taylors with the inscription "What Would Jesus Do?" written on the sides. I'm serious!
But back to the All-Star break... it will be nice to have a few days off. I bought my mom and sister a house in suburban D.C., so I am going to go back there for settlement on the 18th and help them get situated. Over the weekend I am also planning to go to go to church with my mom. I really like hanging out with mom and talking to her - she is one of my best friends and we talk about everything. It is great having someone like that in my life. Unfortunately the visit will be short because right after All-Star we head to L.A. to play the Lakers.
So with all that said, it's time for my movie reviews for this entry. For those of you who liked the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" you will love "House of the Fighting Daggers." I also saw the new De Niro movie, "Hide and Seek." It was a little scary, but nothing really makes you jump up out of your seat. I give it three and a half stars out of five. "Million Dollar Baby" is a good drama, and "Coach Carter" was excellent - I give that one five stars. We saw that together all together when we were down in Atlanta, and Justin Reed looks just like Samuel L. Jackson did in that movie. Speaking of look-alikes on the team, Tony Allen looks just like Jimmie Walker.
One final thought - to the kids in Miss Lieberman's third grade class at South Lawrence East School, thanks for the SpongeBob joke book. And something for you guys to think about - sometimes when you least expect it, surprises come...
Stay warm and I'll talk to you all soon.
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January 7, 2005
Happy New Year! I know it's been a while since my last entry, but December was a crazy month for us. As you all already know, I broke my hand back in the end of November during the Miami game. So the first part of the month was pretty much a blur - I was in a lot of pain. I wasn't able to make the trip out west with the team, so that was disappointing. I watched all of the games, and even though I haven't physically been able to be on the court with the guys, I have been with them spiritually and mentally every step of the way. During games I am on the bench, in the locker room and at practice. Sometimes I offer the guys some advice or point out something they may have not seen, things that they may take different from a peer than they do from one of the coaches. So I am staying very involved.
My hand feels great, and I have been working out a lot. They say the bone is healing well, and I am able to use the hand like I normally would. I have been doing a bunch of conditioning and cardio, and I am able to shoot and run drills. They only thing I haven't been cleared to do yet is practice, and they are making me wait a few more days as a precautionary measure before I go full tilt. Rehab was tough - everyday I worked with some putty, and also used the Chinese Feng Shui balls. In addition, I had my hand in a bone stimulator, which is supposed to help the bone grow in my hand.
Of course, since it's New Year's, everyone has to make a resolution. Mine is pretty simple: no jive for '05. Basically I just want to be honest and real with myself. I believe that if you can do that, you will be an honest person. It is kind hard to do this in the NBA, because you are put on a pedestal, which makes it pretty easy to lose yourself. I am lucky because I have my friends and family, who keep me grounded. My friends are the same guys I grew up with, and we all come from the same background where it was a struggle. Our group was able to stay tight, and I am thankful for that because it is hard at this time in my life to make really close new friends.
The holidays were wonderful - we had a few days off so I was able to spend time with my family. My mom and sister came to Boston for Christmas, which I really enjoyed. Even though we had to leave for San Antonio on Christmas night, it was good to spend a few days with them. My mom cooked a really good meal, and it had been a while since I had a good, home-cooked meal. We exchanged presents - of course I waited until the last minute, December 23, to do my shopping. But I got everyone some really nice gifts, and the guys in my family even got some stuff from Nike.
For New Years Eve, a bunch of my friends came up to celebrate. My boys Ron, Brendan, Rick, Derrick, Bill and Uncle Rudy spent some time up here. It was pretty low key - I showed them around Boston and then we just rang in 2005 back at my place. But it was good to have my friends around. Like I said, they help keep me grounded and know me real well. Good friends like that are very important in life. And while I'm talking about the new year, I think we should all take a minute to remember those we lost in 2004... my friend Smoke passed on this past year, and he continues to be in my thoughts.
So other than that I have just been chillin'... I like going out downtown - some of my favorite places are the Loews movie theater, P.F. Chang's and of course shopping at the Prudential Center and on Newbury Street. When I'm hanging out at home I like to play NBA Live - no one on the team has been able to beat me yet. I've beaten Tony Allen and Justin Reed, and I'm taking on all challengers. It's kind of neat to see myself in the game - in the NCAA game your name is there, but the player doesn't look anything like you. Now I have a guy who not only looks like me, he also has all my moves. I usually don't play as the C's, but every once in a while at home on my computer I play our team so I can go out and let myself score 50 points.
Before I give you all my movie reviews for this entry, I want to take a minute to thank Ms. Lieberman's third grade class at South Lawrence East School. They made me some great get well and holiday cards that really helped lift my spirits. My mom really liked them too - she spread them out on the table by the Christmas tree so everyone could enjoy them. I know the students had some questions for me in their journals, so I thought I'd answer a few:
Q: Did it hurt when you broke your hand?
A: I didn't really notice it at first. I hurt it late in the second quarter, and then continued to play the rest of the game. But when the game was over and my adrenaline came down, I noticed the lump on my hand and that my fingers were numb. I knew it was broken.
Q: Who is your best friend on the team?
A: All of us guys are pretty close, so I don't have one "best friend." We all like to hang out and go out together, especially on the road. We have a really good group of guys in here.
Q: What is your favorite holiday?
A: My favorite holiday is Christmas. When I was younger we didn't have a lot, but somehow my mom always managed to get us what we wanted. She always made sure we got a few things off our lists (which were usually a couple of pages long), and every year I got a monopoly game, a bike and the game Twister.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Definitely home made fried chicken
Q: What was your favorite subject in school?
A: Probably gym. I guess it makes sense since I now spend time in the gym for a living.
Q: Who was your favorite teacher?
A: Mrs. Dunbar was my favorite teacher. She was my English teacher in high school. And even though I only had her for one year, she always helped me out. If I was struggling and needed help with my homework, she was always there. She is one of those really special teachers - I still keep in touch with her today.
Q: How old will you be when you retire?
A: Hopefully in my 30s... I am still pretty young so that will give me a nice, long career.
Q: What is your favorite color other than green?
A: Actually, green is my favorite color. I really like earth tones - browns, tan, green. I also like red.
Q: What other sports do you like?
A: I am a big sports fan. I like everything - and with ESPN, there is a new sport on every day. I even watch poker, although I am not a good player. Spades is my game.
I really want to thank the kids for the cards and well wishes - I really enjoyed them. And I want to thank all of the fans that continue to support me and the Celtics - the team is really coming together and you can look forward to exciting basketball in 2005.
Finally, here are some movie reviews. I didn't think Meet The Fockers was that funny; I thought they tried too hard. I rented Collateral on DVD, and really liked that. I also saw Ocean's 12 and thought that was good, and enjoyed Blade Trinity.
That's all for now... thanks again for your continued support, and I hope to see you at the Fleet sometime soon.
Talk to you soon,
December 2, 2004
Hey everyone... sorry it's been a while, but there has been a lot going on lately. Last time I wrote I mentioned that I had hoped to be activated for the Washington or Philly game. Obviously that didn't happen, but I still have a lot to tell you all about, including some stuff that happened when I went back to both cities.
I consider both Washington and Philadelphia to be my hometowns. I grew up in DC and have strong roots there, and went to college in Philly, so when I saw those dates on the schedule after my injury, I had circled those as potential games I was aiming for with my comeback from my broken thumb. The other date I circled was Orlando, but more about that later. So even though I didn't play in Washington, I still enjoyed going down there for a quick visit. It was great to see my family - I was able to go out to the house on Tuesday night for a bit and have some of mom's cooking. My mom was real excited to see me, but I think she was even more excited to see me at the game because I was wearing a suit. I hardly ever wear a suit, so that was a big deal to her. It is nice to know I have made her so proud. It's a good feeling.
Philadelphia is just as much of a home to me, so I was excited when I was cleared by the doctors to play the day before the game. But Coach Rivers was worried that playing in front of the same fans that watched me come up in college might be too much pressure, so I sat that one out. And I know he was right, but I was still a little disappointed. It was still cool - I saw some of my coaches from St. Joe's and some of my friend's came by the hotel the night before to hang out and talk about old times. Unfortunately the team was away getting beat up on pretty bad by Kansas, so I had to deal with Raef and Paul on that one.
Thanksgiving was great. We had the day off, and my dad, step-mom and little brother came up to Boston. It was their first time here, so we had a nice dinner and went around to see the city a bit. My little brother Cliffton is four, and he is my biggest fan. So I really enjoy hanging out with him and getting to spend time together. It was a nice couple of days. What made it even better was that the next day I was activated to play against the Cavs. I can't think of a better way to start off my NBA career than to have my dad here to see me play. It started off right, too. I scored, had a dunk and played a pretty decent game. But here's a funny story about my first NBA game - coach told me I was going to be in the lineup that morning at shoot-around. I wanted to make sure I was ready, so afterwards I went home to get some rest and took a nap. Now, that game was a 7:30 pm tip-off, so we had to be at the arena at 5:15 pm. I woke up on my couch at 4:59 pm! Somehow I made it to the building in 14 minutes, but I thought I was going to die about six times! I don't recommend driving like I did that day... but there was no way I was going to be late for my first game. I was nervous about getting to the gym on time, but once I got there I was more excited than nervous. It was great to get the first one under my belt.
So that brings us to Miami. I had never been down there, so it was cool to check it out. We grabbed some dinner on South Beach, but that was about it. I was really focused on seeing Shaq in person - as a guard, all you hear about is how big he is and that you don't want to go down in the paint against him. And let me tell you - he's a big guy. But I know you really want to hear about the injury. I think it was in the first half... I split a screen and just tripped up and fell. When I went down, I was baby-sitting my thumb because I didn't want to hurt it again, so I came down on the side of my hand. At first, I thought I just sprained my finger. But during the next timeout I noticed part of my arm was numb. And that's never a good sign. I knew something was wrong, but I wanted to play - it was only my second game. The trainer wanted to x-ray my hand at halftime, but I wouldn't let him. Instead he just taped two of my fingers together that were acting funny, and I went out and played. I just didn't want to have that x-ray done. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I was going to be out with another injury. So after the game, they finally did the x-ray. I took one look at that thing when it came out of the machine and didn't even wait around to talk to anyone. The doctor's wanted to put a splint on it, but I just left and got on the bus. The coaches were asking me what happened, and I told them I was fine, it was just a sprain. Well, Coach Rivers must have known something because he took me off the bus and we went back to see the doctor to get a splint and some treatment. I was really disappointed. I've only had two broken bones in my life, and they have been in the same hand and both happened this season.
I mentioned before that besides Washington and Philly, the other date I had targeted for a possible return from my thumb injury was Orlando. The Magic drafted my St. Joe's teammate and good friend Jameer Nelson. Jameer and I spent almost every waking minute together in school, so we are real good friends. I called him the night before the game and told him about my hand, and that I probably wouldn't even sit out on the bench to watch the game. But we talked again after the game, and I saw a bunch of his cousins that used to come and stay with us back in Philly. That was nice because it was like a little reunion, and it made me feel better. Even though I was disappointed we didn't get to play each other, I know that we will meet up plenty in the future. We both have long careers ahead of us.
When we got back to Boston, I saw some other doctors, and then had surgery on Wednesday. Let me tell you, it's pretty painful right now. It's only been a day since the surgery and four days since the injury, and the pain is keeping me up at night. But I want everyone to know I'm not down, I'm not depressed. It was important for me to come out to practice today to support the guys and let them know I am here with them in spirit - unfortunately my spirit has been here more this season than I have physically. But hopefully that will change in the future. I just ask you guys, the fans, to keep supporting the team, and to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
I mentioned in my first diary that I love movies and was going to give you guys my recommendations each week. Now, you all know I love SpongeBob, but I haven't seen that one yet. So the movie of the week is Old School. It's a good movie, a classic.
Thanks again for checking in, and I will talk to you soon.
November 11, 2004
Hey everyone... Thanks for taking the time to read my diary. I am looking forward to keeping you updated throughout the season on what's going on with the team, life in the NBA and anything else you might want to know about me. So far, I am just getting used to living in a new town - I moved up to Boston in August, and the transition hasn't been too hard. When I was in college in Philly I lived in my own apartment, so I'm used to being on my own. Now I have my brother and his family up here living with me, so it is nice to have them to go home to.
I miss college sometimes... we had some fun times at St. Joe's. The biggest difference I've noticed so far is between the fans. Don't get me wrong - you all are great - but in college the same fans that cheered for me at the games were in my classes the next day and in the dorms with us. I'm the kind of guy who likes to have fun and be around people, so I've noticed that the professional lifestyle can be kind of secluded. That's why I'm glad to have my brother and his family around. But I'm definitely going to have to get the college package so I can keep track of the Hawks and see how they are doing. That team was amazing - a lot of times you hear about teams being like a "family," but we really were. Coach Martelli was like that - he treated everyone from the stars on down to the walk-ons like family. There was just a great player-coach relationship, and that was a hard environment to walk away from.
But things are cool up here with the Celtics. My teammates are great - we have a bunch of really good guys who want to win as much as I do. I really wanted to come to Boston - when I was looking at my options before the draft with my agent and high school coach, we all agreed that coming to the Celtics would be great. Boston was definitely one of my top five choices, so I was excited to hear that they selected me on draft night.
The hardest thing so far has been the injury to my thumb. In college I had a stress fracture in my right leg, but for some reason this is more frustrating. I just really want to get out there and play... it was hard to have Philly come into town - when I was at St. Joe's, they were like our bigger brother. I would go to the games all the time, and I really wanted a chance to get out there and go up against those guys. But I think God has a bigger plan for us all sometimes, and right now I think maybe he is trying to show me something. Sometimes we need to take a step back in order to take two steps forward.
The injury was especially hard because I was starting to get more and more comfortable as the preseason wore down. The first game I was pretty nervous - I don't know why, but I was. Then my confidence started to come back, and I started to work on the little things I needed to tighten up. In the beginning I was thinking way too much out there - how does coach want me to run the offense, what does he want me to do now... I just needed to go out and play my game, and that's what I started doing. But it's a long season, and I think it's going to be a good one for us. We have a good team, a good coach, and we are going to be exciting and a lot of fun to watch.
So other than that, I just want to let you know that I am excited to be here... looking forward to the season. Some people wonder, as professional basketball players, who we are and what our lives are like... I just want you all to know I am a regular guy who happens to play ball. I like to sit at home and watch cartoons (SpongeBob is one of my favorites) and eat cereal. I also like going to the movies, so I thought as part of this diary I would give you guys some movie recommendations every once in a while. My all-time favorite is "Coming to America," but if you want to check out something a little more current, I really liked "The Incredibles." "Shark Tales" is a great movie for the kids, and "Ray" is great for adults.
Thanks for checking in, and I'll talk to you soon.