Daniels happy to be home for the holidays

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Daniels happy to be home for the holidays

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

For many of the Boston Celtics, a Christmas Day game in Orlando means packing up the family and heading down to Florida. For others, it means being away from loved ones who live elsewhere.

For Marquis Daniels, however, it means going home for the holidays.

Daniels grew up in Orlando, where his mother and step-father still reside. Even though his family is dispersed around the country now, they will be together on Christmas.

Its going to be great, he told CSNNE.com, Just to be around family.

Daniels two children, Syriah (4) and Antwane (2), live with his wife in Georgia where they attend school. His oldest brother lives in Indiana, while his younger brother is a student in Alabama.

Daniels hasnt been home for Thanksgiving since his junior year of high school, so he looks forward to being in Orlando for the second straight season on Christmas, thanks to the NBA schedule.

Two times in a row, thats great, he said. Its rare that you get to do that. I had to put that in my contract (laughs).

And when Daniels returns to Florida, he will be reaching out to more than just his relatives.

Daniels formed the Q6 Foundation as a way to give back to underprivileged children in the Orlando community. He has since performed outreach in every city he has played, including Boston.

It revolves around sickle cell in amateur sports, he explained. Its an epidemic that goes unheard of in the black community, and it affects the black community a lot.

Daniels knows the impact of sickle cell anemia firsthand. He was in shock the first time he ever witnessed the effects of the disease.

My wife, her youngest brother has a full case of it, he said. When I first saw it, I was like what is wrong with him? All his bones just locked up on him and he locked up. He was so stiff. He was crying. He was 18 and crying and I was like, what is wrong? I had never seen anything like it.

Daniels helped rush the teenager to the hospital, where he received one of many morphine treatments.

Hes immune to morphine now, thats how much hes had, Daniels said. Its bad.

The vision of suffering stuck with Daniels, and he became interested in learning more. Soon he would need to know more than he ever imagined.

Months after his daughter was born, routine tests revealed that she carried the genetic trait for the disease.

You dont want anything to happen to your kids, regardless of what it is, he said. Once I found that out, I was like, 'Ok I need to find out more so when she gets older, she can be educated on it also.

Fortunately Syriah does not have a full case of the disease, but it could affect her in years to come. Daniels explains that she cannot have a baby with another carrier of the trait because there is a chance the child could have sickle cell anemia.

Daniels wife also carries the trait, and he recently found out his mother does as well (his son does not). With so many people in life touched by sickle cell anemia, Daniels felt compelled to help.

Theres stuff about it that I wanted to get out there, he said.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, approximately 1 in 12 African Americans carry the trait. Daniels has used the Q6 Foundation as a platform to raise awareness.

On Christmas Eve, he will host a holiday event in Orlando for children of single mothers who have been affected by the sickle cell anemia. In partnership with Kmart Kares and Lil Caesars Pizza, the Q6 Foundation will donate bikes to the children and Kmart gift cards to the mothers.

Daniels has also taken his cause to the international level. He has already begun outreach in Haiti (he met with the mayor this fall) and plans to conduct a basketball camp there next summer. Theyre big Celtics fans, he points out.

Whether it is delivering a bicycle in Orlando or teaching a child how to play "net ball," as basketball is referred to in Haiti, Daniels hopes each event will work toward his ultimate goal of beating the disease.

I just want to spread the word, to get everybody out there to hear about it, he said. Hopefully try to find a cure for it and just take advantage of it and try to help people out that go through that process.

For Daniels, being able to spend time with his family and help others makes the holidays even brighter.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a  championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.

“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said. 

The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded. 

“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem. 

“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”