Stiemsma receives wealth of advice from Wilcox

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Stiemsma receives wealth of advice from Wilcox

Greg Stiemsma spent the first half of his rookie season sitting next to Chris Wilcox in the Boston Celtics locker room.

When Wilcox underwent season-ending cardiac surgery to repair an enlarged aorta in March and was waived to create space on the Celtics roster, Stiemsma lost one of his veteran go-to teammates temporarily.

Wilcox returned to the TD Garden on Sunday night to support the Celtics during their Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks. He previously visited the Cs for their regular season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks last month. Each time, Wilcox has shared advice and observations with the eager-to-listen Stiemsma.

Sometimes when you kind of take a step away from the game, you can really notice a lot more things, Stiemsma told CSNNE.com following Game 4. He told me a few things earlier tonight and just a few minutes ago, too. Hes been keeping close tabs on us. Hes been through it, hes been in the league for a while, and he has the knowledge to pass on.

Wilcox, 29, was in his 10th NBA season prior to the surgery. Stiemsma, a 26-year-old rookie, took mental notes from his fellow big man. His role has increased following the departures of Wilcox and Jermaine ONeal (wrist).

Ive just got to stay active, Stiemsma said. I think thats one of the things I tried to follow his lead on. When he was on the floor, he was always making guys guard him. So Ive tried to do a little more of that lately, just be a presence.

Stiemsma has kept in touch with Wilcox through text messages. He welcomes having Wilcox around again before and after games to offer the veteran advice he provided for much of Stiemsmas rookie season.

Its great, said Stiemsma. Add him to the list (laughs). With all this experience in this locker room, the leadership has been unbelievable. These guys really care. They want to see us do well. Thats the biggest thing theyre sincere about not just saying this to tell the young guys; they really want to see us do well and succeed.

Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"

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Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"

Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talk with Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens at Celtics Media Day about raised expectations for the upcoming season, how Al Horford will fit, can Isaiah Thomas build off an All-Star season, and how high are his goals. 

Plus, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss whether or not some critiscism could come Stevens' way if the Celtics doesn't perform well in the playoffs.

MORE PODCAST Isaiah Thomas: ‘Just getting to the playoffs in Boston isn’t good enough’

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher

C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

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C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

WALTHAM -- The national anthem protests by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have had an undeniable ripple effect on professional sports teams across the country. And that includes the Boston Celtics.
 
“We as an organization know what’s going on,” said Marcus Smart. “We read and see and hear about it every day. It’s a sensitive subject for everybody.”
 
While it’s unlikely that Celtics players will do something similar to Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, there’s no question some are figuring out the best way to utilize their platform as athletes to express their views on current social issues.
 
“Us athletes have to take advantage of the stage we’re on,” said Jae Crowder. “Try to make a positive out it. You can’t fix negative problems with negative energy. I don’t want to do anything negative; I want to do something positive, shed light on the situation.”
 
Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and a number of professional athletes have tried to have more attention paid to recent killings of African-Americans by police officers where, based on the video footage, it appears excessive or unnecessary force was used.
 
It is a topic that has brought a wide range of responses from many in the sports world, including the dean of NBA coaches, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
 
During the Spurs’ media day this week, he was asked about the Kaepernick’s protests.
 
“I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done,” Popovich told reporters. “The question is whether it will do any good or not because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure, no matter how you look at it.”
 
As examples of the political pressure he was referring to, Popovich mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ability to galvanize group, as well as the NBA and other organizations pulling their events out of the state of North Carolina because of its legislation as it relates to the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
 
“The important thing that Kaepernick and others have done is keep it in the conversation,” Popovich said.
 
And while there may be differing opinions as to whether Kaepernick or any other athlete should be protesting, the one common thread that seems to bind the Celtics players and the front office is them having the right to speak out not only as professional athletes, but Americans.
 
“The biggest thing is we all really value the freedoms that we have and that we’ve been allotted,” said coach Brad Stevens, who added that he has had individual discussions with players on this subject. “We certainly support an individual’s freedoms. It’s been great to engage in those discussions. It’s been really fun for me how excited our guys are about using their platform.”
 
And that more than anything else is why Crowder feels the Celtics have to have a united front as far as the message they present to the masses.
 
“If we want change we have to do it together,” Crowder said. “I feel like those guys (other athletes) used their platforms well. I think more athletes should do the same. You can’t do it with any hatred; you can’t do it with any negative. You have to do it with positive energy.”