BOSTON -- Mickael Pietrus wiped the sweat off his face with a towel. He paused, looked toward the stands, and tossed the white cloth to an eager fan.
Days later during a regular-season game, he turned to a young child sitting near the Boston Celtics bench. He asked for the sign she had created and waved the neon paper in the air, eliciting a smiling response.
Interacting with the crowd is an important part of Pietrus game experience. He thrives off their energy and wants to make sure the fans enjoy their time at the TD Garden.
As the Celtics return to Boston for Game 6 of their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, Pietrus will use the home crowd to fuel him on Thursday night.
The way I get the crowd going is by making a basket, he told CSNNE.com. I start looking at them saying, Yeah, thats good! I just want to make a 3 to see them enjoy it. If my teammates score, I try to wave, try to get a run.
Whether it is addressing the fans from the court after nailing a bucket, dancing to the music before tipoff, or striking up a conversation from the bench during a break in play, Pietrus makes the crowd feel like they are part of the action.
And then there is his towel tradition.
I always give a towel because sometimes a towel has a lot of value for them, Pietrus said. I like that. It could just be a towel and they love it. At the end of the day, when I use it, the towel is going to be in the trash. So I would rather make someone happy every game by giving them a towel. Whenever I see kids happy, if you smile for me, I will give you a towel.
Pietrus also appreciates when the fans acknowledge him as well.
Whenever they come to the arena with a sign, I love that, he said. One sign said, Pietrus, would you marry me?
Always cracking jokes, Pietrus paused before continuing in jest, I said yes but she just could not hear me.