How the Auerbach Center is Changing the Lives of the Celtics

BOSTON – Ask any member of the Boston Celtics about their sparkling new Auerbach Center at New Balance World Headquarters and they get a twinkle in their eye.

The building is as beautiful as any basketball facility in the world, but it wasn’t built for its aesthetics; it was built for functionality, and the Celtics are capitalizing on it.

The organization went all-in on its new practice facility with the goal of building an environment that would assist in the development and recovery of its players and staff. Through its first two days of official practice, it sounds as if the Auerbach Center is delivering on its lofty goals.

“This is a great facility. It’s awesome,” said Marcus Smart, who spent his first four NBA seasons practicing in Boston’s dated facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. “This organization did a great job of making sure we had whatever we needed made available for us and the staff. We’re blessed to have this and we’re excited.”

It certainly seemed that way following Tuesday’s first day of practice, after which veteran Al Horford sent out an Instagram photo of himself and four teammates soaking in their new cold tub. The cold tub is one of many new toys that the players have at their disposal to assist in their recovery from practices and games.

Smart recently opted to utilize one option which he had never even seen before, let alone used before.

“So we have, like, a float tank,” he said, referencing the dark, chamber-like tub room that features nearly a half-ton of salt in its tub of water. “I have (used it), and it’s very relaxing and it’s good on your body.”

But the list doesn’t end there.

“The cold tub, the hot tub, the pool, and things like that,” Smart added as he rattled off more of the available recovery tools. “We’ve got different things to really help our bodies, and in this league you need that with as much as we play.”

The players love that aspect, while Brad Stevens is loving the upgrade to his practice canvas. In Waltham, the coach had only one basketball court at his disposal, a court which was flanked by five hoops that offered little-to-no room between them. Now he and the Celtics have two full-size courts that are flanked by six well-spaced hoops.

Stevens gave a few examples Wednesday of how the court upgrades will help the team practice.

“You don’t feel like your voices are on top of each other quite as much,” he said. “We can break into three groups, four groups if we want. The pre-practice shooting doesn’t start an hour and 40 minutes before (practice); it starts 60 minutes before, because we have more courts to work on.”

The only negative to the facility, joked Smart, is that he doesn’t know how to get out of it.

“It’s confusing, I’m not gonna lie,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve heard of keeping someone out, but keeping someone in is different. You’ve got to have a key to get out of here.”

With the way this place was built, though, why would he or anyone want to leave?

The Auerbach Center serves its players customized food throughout the day, it has all of the recovery options the players could possibly need, it has nap rooms, it has entertainment rooms, and it has plenty of space for individual workouts.

It’s no wonder why the Celtics’ eyes twinkle every time they speak about the facility. This building has everything they need, and everything they didn’t have as recently as five months ago.