Boston Celtics

Two lockerless Celtics learning from the ground up

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Two lockerless Celtics learning from the ground up

BOSTON -- The piles of clothes stood out in the middle of the locker room, tucked next to two chairs placed atop the Boston Celtics logo printed on the carpet.

Players carefully walked around the shirts and pants as they made their way to their own lockers, where their items hung neatly on hangers.

Welcome to the locker room accommodations of a training camp invitee. For Boston Celtics Micah Downs and Rob Kurz, they wouldn't want to be sitting in a chair anywhere else.

"I'm just happy to be in this locker room," Downs told CSNNE.com prior to Tuesday's preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. "I don't care, they could put me in the bathroom."

Both Downs, a rookie, and Kurz, who played a season for the Golden State Warriors, are soaking up all the sights and sounds being near their teammates. They have a table to place their belongings on at the Celtics practice facility, and they are happy to keep their items on the floor at TD Garden if it means playing in green and white. They had an idea heading into training camp that they would be without lockers given there were more players on the roster than spots along the wall.

"I'd sit on the floor, that's fine," said Kurz. "I'm just happy to be here. It's great to be around a great group of guys, a great team, a great coaching staff, and a great organization."

Kurz has even discovered perks of his seat. He has a front row view for watching game film and is just a few feet away from Kevin Garnett's locker. "We're neighbors," he joked.

Downs and Kurz played four minutes apiece in Tuesday's loss to the Nets. Downs scored two points (1-4 FG) while Kurz grabbed three rebounds. As the regular season approaches, it remains to be seen if either will stick on the Celtics. Even if they play elsewhere, their time with the team -- and in the locker room -- has been well worth it.

"Just being the presence of and practicing with Kevin Garnett and Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo, it's an overwhelming experience," said Downs. "I've already learned so much more than I thought I would have."

Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

As the controversy raged Saturday over President Donald Trump's tweet rescinding the White House invitation to Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry, a tweeted photo recalling a simpler time for sports team's presidential visits appeared. 

The nostalgic Twitter account @the_60s_at_50 posted a photo from the Celtics' visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and its principal occupant, John F. Kennedy, on Jan. 31, 1963. JFK had invited his hometown NBA team into the Oval Office for what seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment visit.

A newspaper account of the visit was also posted. The defending NBA champion Celtics were in the Washington area to play the Cincinnati Royals at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House that night and had been taking a tour of the White House when Kennedy invited them in. 

All the team members were there except for star center Bill Russell, who, of course, experienced incidents of racism in Boston that were well-documented. However, Russell's absence was blamed on him oversleeping. His teammates said they didn't know they would meet Kennedy on the tour.  

And yes, that's Celtics legend - and CSN's own - Tommy Heinsohn second from right. Coach Red Auerbach is next to the President on the left, Bob Cousy is next to Auerbach and John Havlicek is the first player in the second row on the left.