Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
This season, players will provide insight on a host of topics outside the game of basketball, that will be displayed in various forms, color schemes and designs on the sneakers they play in.
It has the potential for players to make their voices, beliefs and convictions on display in a way that the NBA has never seen before.
And for Boston Celtics fans, you can count on a number of Celtics players joining this wave of creativity that will engulf the NBA this season.
“I love the creativity,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown who has a shoe and apparel deal with Adidas. “I’m a creative mind. That’s dope to see other creative people get to express themselves, with their sneakers. And I’m gonna do the same thing, express myself with my sneakers.”
As Brown alluded to, he won’t be alone in using the league’s relaxed stance regarding sneakers as a way of expressing himself creatively during games.
And among Celtics players, the rule change will bring out the competitor in several players all vying to come out with designs and color schemes that stand out and above their teammates as well as the rest of the NBA.
“They’re in trouble,” Boston’s Marcus Morris told NBC Sports Boston, referring to his teammates who will be introduced to Morris’ classic collection of sneakers. “I got something in store.”
But Morris acknowledges the player most of his Celtics teammates will be trying to out-do when it comes to footwear, is Kyrie Irving.
“He comes with 17 different shoes every game,” quipped Morris. “You should see his locker … and they’re all different.”
NBCSports Boston — Sneakers aren’t just about bright colors for the Celtics
I guess I’m not all that fun anymore, as I haven’t collected basketball sneakers since my high school days (aside: my favorite pairs of bball shoes I owned in no particular order — Air Penny 2’s; Shawn Kemp’s Kamimkaze 1s; Jordan XIII’s; Gary Payton’s ‘the Glove’) but both for the individuality of NBA players and the interest and intrigue of sneakerheads -especially kids just getting into the game- I’m loving the freedom to express oneself through one’s kicks.
As evidenced by A Sherrod’s piece, players are incredibly excited, too, and with so many high-profile Cs with sneaker deals, the designs and the variety should be fun to see.
There’s also the ability to stand up for what one believes in through shoe choice:
No one will be surprised if Brown uses the freedom players now have with what they can do design-wise with their shoes, as a platform of sorts to create discussion and discourse on topics of today.
Brown said it means a lot to be with a shoe and apparel maker that you’re on the same page with, akin to relationship between Colin Kapernick and Nike.
“With Adidas and stuff, we have some interesting stuff planned,” said Brown who declined to get into specifics.
I’m excited to see what Brown and Adidas, Terry and Puma and Kyrie and Nike come up with.
How about Brad with some designer Cole Haans???
Related Links: NBCSports Boston — Kyrie Irving talks of promoting women’s issues in designing signature shoes
On page 2, Terry Sr. gets to watch his son play again
Little Terry Rozier was on the screen shooting free throws when Cavs broadcaster Fred McLeod noted the Celtics guard’s father would be at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday to watch his son in person for the first time. After spending 23 of the last 25 years in prison, this was all too true. Terry Sr. missed every in-person minute of his son’s rise as a basketball player, from Shaker Heights to Louisville to the Celtics.
Rozier Sr.’s voice halted, and came back over the phone quietly.
“This is emotional,” he said. “I can’t wait for Saturday, the first time ever. A lot of people think I’m so emotional when I talk about it. I’ve been waiting a long time to come home and watch my son.”
Boston Herald — Rozier reunion: Celtics guard, father, rekindle relationship
Out of jail for the first time in 15 years, Terry Rozier Sr. will be in the stands in Cleveland on Saturday to watch Scary Terry play. Pretty special moment coming up, which is captured poignantly in Mark Murphy’s story.
Jackie Mac did her pivotal mental health feature over the summer, and it’s stories like these that remind you just how difficult childhood can be for many NBA players. Terry Rozier really only got to spend two of his first 25 years with his dad, who taught him the game of basketball. Even so, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any ill-will, Terry Jr had quite the welcome for his dad when he exited prison over the summer.
Worth a read. And here’s hoping Brad gives Terry plenty of minutes in front of dad on Saturday night.
And finally, Jaylen’s got a handle on things
This summer, Brown shifted his focus to his handle — emphasizing an aspect of his game he always had in his back pocket, but one the Celtics didn’t utilize much in his rookie year.
“I didn’t do anything crazy (this summer), put on a garbage can, I didn’t do any of those,” Brown said. “I just made an emphasis that when I’m working out, my handle is tighter. Before, I wasn’t making it an emphasis.”
So this summer, Brown turned up the focus on his handle. After last season, playmaking might be the last hole in his game, and it was always a fixable one. A top-tier athlete with 3-point range that has grown increasingly reliable as his career progressed, Brown’s defensive prowess could land him on All-Defense teams in the future. In the playoffs, he averaged 18 points per game while defending any position from one to four on switches.
The Celtics generally play within Stevens’ designations of ball-handlers, wings and bigs rather than the traditional 1-5 format, but Brown has increasingly found himself at the two, defending and being defended by smaller players. He can already bully them in the paint (witness the destruction he rained down on Philadelphia in the paint during the Eastern Conference semifinals).
Now, after yet another summer of focused improvement, Brown is ready to reap the results again.
“Jaylen has always been a guy who is committed to improving, and he has improved,” Brad Stevens said. “I think that’s one of his key attributes, to be honest.”
Jaylen Brown seems to get a real kick out of proving people wrong — remember, he heard the boos from Celtics fans on draft night loud and clear in 2016.
In his rookie season, I used to think of Jaylen as a baby deer trying to stand up for the first time. This image first popped into my head when I’d watch him drive to the rim. More often than not, the possession would end with a loose ball, and Jaylen splayed out on the parquet. Last year, he took a step forward, finishing drives with pretty finger rolls and bully-balling his way into the paint against guards and smaller wings.
It seems as though this year, Brown wants to become a guy who can score in the half-court, driving from the top of the key by beating his defender off the dribble.
Our season prediction series is starting on Friday, and next week our staff will pick their biggest surprise player of the season. Jaylen shows up, and while he made a leap last year, it seems as though he’s poised to take an even bigger one this year (and remain on his feet unlike his baby deer rookie self).