Stiemsma: Being compared to Russell 'outside of my realm'

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Stiemsma: Being compared to Russell 'outside of my realm'

BOSTON -- Greg Stiemsmas NBA career got a jumpstart at the start of the season when Celtics broadcaster and Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn made a comparison between him and Bill Russell.

Since then, the 26-year-old rookie center has been shaking his head at the reference, trying to wrap his mind around the compliment after fighting for years overseas to make it in the NBA.

On Wednesday, Stiemsma had the opportunity to not only see Russell in person, but also play just feet away from him. Russell was in attendance for the Boston Celtics - Detroit Pistons game in which he was honored during Mentoring Night for his participation in the Bill Russell Legacy Project.

Man, when that comparison was made I said it was so outside of my realm that I would ever imagine, Stiemsma told CSNNE.com following the Cs 98-88 loss. So just seeing him in the stands tonight, hes one of the best players ever in the game. Hes been a big-time teacher to a lot of guys, and a lot of guys have modeled their game after him. Just for him to be in the stands, to be part of this, to wear the same uniform and all that, its still an honor to me.

While Stiemsma blocks out the crowd when he was playing, he was excited to learn before the game that Russell was in the building. The two did not speak, but Stiemsma hopes to pick his brain if he comes back to TD Garden this season.

Hes definitely one of those guys who made the league what it is, he said. He made those big strides for it so its hard for a big guy at some point not to look to Bill Russell.

Stiemsma scored one point and grabbed two rebounds in 13 minutes against the Pistons. He is averaging 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 22 games this season. Humbled by any comparison, he is appreciative of the reference after a long road to Boston.

Its quite a big step or quite a big change from even a year ago at this time or five years ago this time, he said. Its all part of the journey. Its all part of the experience. Im enjoying it as much as I can.

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

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WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.