Pierce: C's aren't getting any younger

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Pierce: C's aren't getting any younger

CAMBRIDGE Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce was the last player to arrive for Saturday's charity basketball game on the campus of Harvard University.

Thankfully this wasn't Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals and Pierce wasn't wheeled in on a wheel chair. He was just a little late. Hard to blame him as he's had a lot on his mind, including some legit concerns about the impact of the lockout on the C's core group.

"We're not getting any younger. KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray are on the last year of their deals," Pierce said. "So we don't really know the future after this year, especially with those two guys. Who knows what direction the team is going to go in after that? That's a huge concern."

So is the fact that we don't have an NBA season, something that doesn't appear to be on the verge of changing anytime soon.

After several bargaining sessions, the union eventually filed a disclaimer of interest earlier this month and have moved the back-and-fourth tussle between the players and owners, into courtrooms with anti-trust lawsuits filed in Minnesota and California.

Pierce acknowledged the decision made by the union to file a disclaimer of interest, was unexpected.

"The one kind of took me by surprise, they vote to break up the union," Pierce said. "A lot of that really took me by surprise, but I don't think it was mentioned to bring to the whole body, to the whole union, to take a vote on it. It was just players representatives get a vote."

Pierce said the last proposal offer from the NBA was a bad deal which made turning it down an easy option.

However, that should not be interpreted as if he's not eager to return to work.

"Right now, I want to get a deal (done)," Pierce said. "I want to play. I don't have too many more years left, but we want the right deal. That's the most important thing."

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.”