1 Year After Move, Theis Family Feels Right at Home in Boston
BOSTON – All of that chatter you’ve heard about the Celtics being a first-class organization and Boston being a desirable destination for professional athletes is flat-out true.
Just ask Daniel Theis.
The 26-year-old Theis joined the Celtics during the summer of 2017 after spending his entire life and professional career in Germany. It was normal to expect a challenging transition to living in another hemisphere and playing in a new league. However, Theis, his wife, Lena, and their then-1-year-old daughter, Laila, were pleasantly surprised to find a seamless transition in New England thanks to two key factors: Boston’s organizational practices, and the charm of the city itself.
“I would say we’re far from home,” Theis recently told Celtics.com, “but it feels like home, from the beginning.”
Boston is now where Theis’ heart is, but he didn’t make his full-time move to New England until Sept. 12 of last year, following Germany’s elimination from the EuroBasket tournament. That left him with less than two weeks to settle into his new city before the Celtics opened up training camp Sept. 25.
Still, the Theis family somehow managed to adapt quickly to their new culture and franchise.
“Everybody around here, around the organization, makes it easy for players, for families coming in, because they try to involve them with stuff off the court,” Theis explained. “And also, just being a player here makes it easy because you only have to focus on basketball.”
That last part truly stood out to Theis during his first season in green and white. He never imagined how much pressure could be taken off of his shoulders on a day-to-day basis simply by the structure and the processes of an organization.
“You come in here and you walk in in the morning and you have breakfast. You walk out of practice, you have lunch. So you can really focus on basketball,” Theis said of the Celtics, who have created a culture that promotes clear minds. “It makes it easy so that when I come home, I don’t have to worry about anything (work-related). It’s just that I took care of basketball, and I can take care of my family when I’m home.”
The Theis family also adjusted quickly off the court, thanks in large part to the friends and the fans who have surrounded them in Boston.
“With basketball, I’m around all these people every day,” he said, “but also for the families – the wives and kids – if they can come together once in a while and hang out and let the kids play and talk a little bit, it makes it easier for everybody around, especially with the Baynes family, the Haywards, it just makes it easier and it feels like home and welcomed.”
And as for the locals? Well, they make up a fan base unlike anything he’s ever seen before.
“The sports aren’t separate,” he said. “It’s not like the Celtics, the Bruins, the Patriots; it’s like it’s a whole, one city. They support whoever is playing.
“And also,” he continued, “when I walk around and people recognize me, they come up nice and friendly. It’s nice when you see kids come up to you and just ask for a picture and just talk to you for a second and how they smile.”
That’s Boston. That’s the Celtics. Which begs the question: Who wouldn’t want to experience that?
Who wouldn’t want to play for an organization that takes care of its players and generates a family atmosphere? Who wouldn’t want to play in front of a city that loves its athletes, no matter what local jersey they wear?
And as icing on the cake, Theis was sure to point out, this place isn’t too shabby once springtime arrives.
“Now I’m happy to see the other side of Boston, when it’s sunny and all of these nice places where you can just sit outside and drink coffee or go to the water and walk our dogs,” he said with a big smile. “It’s just really nice.”
It sure is, and that’s why everyone from All-Star players like Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, to European pros like Theis and Brad Wanamaker, have been willing to drop everything for the opportunity to move to Boston and don the green and white.