Celtics Sprinkle Fairy Dust Onto Preseason with Group Trip to Disney
ORLANDO – All of Boston’s dreams may come true, thanks to a bit of fairy dust Brad Stevens sprinkled onto the team Wednesday in Orlando.
Stevens intentionally extended the team’s travel schedule to Orlando for Friday’s preseason game in order to add in extra time for team bonding on the road. Half of the team’s players, along with some family members and Celtics staff members, spent Wednesday at Walt Disney World, while others enjoyed a day of golf. This all took place following a team dinner and activity Tuesday night.
The Celtics left Boston Tuesday afternoon, whereas typically they would have left Thursday afternoon. Stevens said that adding the extra time to the trip was all part of a “big plan” to build and maintain the team throughout a long season.
“We went eight straight days at some level,” Stevens said Wednesday of his thinking, “and then we wanted that first off day – we thought since we were playing Orlando anyways, we might as well bring them down a day early, two days early, and take that first off day yesterday.”
The players were certainly appreciative of the opportunity to not only get away from basketball, but also to bond together as a group in one of the most magical places in the world.
“We’re thankful for coach for that,” said Grant Williams, who is one of the players who went to Disney, “because he’s coordinating all of this and giving us an opportunity to be ourselves, be unique, and also just really be better as a group.”
Semi Ojeleye added to that sentiment, as he touched on the importance of spending quality time together as a team before a chaotic regular season begins.
“This is good. We don’t get this time,” he said. “Throughout the season you’re kinda in a rush, and travel is hectic, so everyone is worn out. But having the time to not necessarily relax, but I guess be together, is rare. So we tried to enjoy it and take advantage of it.”
Williams and Ojeleye were two pieces of one six-player group that toured the parks together. They bounced from Hollywood Studios, to Animal Kingdom, to Magic Kingdom, trying out multiple rides inside each park.
The Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster was the ride that was informally voted “Best Ride” by multiple members of the group. Ojeleye explained why.
“Just because like, it starts off fast, the light is green, you go, and you can’t see in there, so you don’t know what’s coming. I liked that,” he said with a wide smile. “Everybody was in there screaming. I was sitting next to Yante (Maten) and he was like, ‘I thought the ride was quick! It should be over!’”
Ojeleye also explained a photo that was shared on social media that showcased the players grabbing onto each other while on the Tower of Terror ride at Hollywood Studios.
“Bro, when we went to the top and our butts lifted off the seats,” he said with a laugh, “we locked arms trying to keep ourselves from flying off.”
One of the players who was in that comical photo was Romeo Langford. The rookie wing revealed to Celtics.com that Wednesday’s visit to Disney World was the first of his life. He was able to experience it with his teammates, thanks to the plan Stevens developed for this particular trip.
That type of bonding – a lifetime first – might be the most important aspect of this trip for the Celtics. Sure, there is still a game to be played Friday night against a talented Magic team, but that contest is one of four preseason games the Celtics will play before tipping off their regular season Oct. 25.
The off-the-court activities which the Celtics experienced over the last two days, highlighted by their trip to Walt Disney World, are one of one. These activities will not happen again this season.
It was important to Stevens to make this happen. He built the team’s schedule around these activities, because he wanted give his players time away from basketball, and to give them time away from basketball together while doing something unique and exciting.
He accomplished his goal, and who knows, maybe that’s just what the Celtics needed to help make their dreams come true over the next eight months.