Brad Stevens delivers motivational message for Red Sox prospects originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If there's someone who knows about building around young players and winning in Boston, it's Brad Stevens.
The Celtics coach-turned-president has overseen a successful transition from the post-Big Three era to the arrival of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who have the Celtics playing like the best team in the NBA. Stevens took time this week to meet with another group of promising youngsters, addressing the top Red Sox prospects at their rookie development program.
"Brad is someone who's really been through the gamut in terms of his career," said Red Sox farm director Brian Abraham. "He's coached at the mid-tier college level, he's coached the Celtics, and now he's overseeing the Celtics from a kind of 10,000-foot view."
Stevens delivered multiple messages to the players the Red Sox believe will make up their next great team.
"He talked about how all the coaches and the people in the front office, we'd love to be in the players' shoes," Abraham said. "The opportunity they have in front of them, the opportunity they have to be great, the opportunity that they have to challenge themselves to be better than what they currently are, and to take advantage of that to have long careers.
"And then I think just putting on a Boston uniform, how much to value that, how much the fans care around here. Go across the country and you'll see people wearing Red Sox jerseys, or Patriots jerseys, Bruins or Celtics, and just to really value that, no matter where you come from. It's a special place to play. And it's even more special when you can win."
Manager Alex Cora and a number of Red Sox prospects attended Wednesday's blowout win over the Spurs, in part to see San Antonio rookie Victor Wembanyama, but also to get a feel for a raucous Boston crowd.
Marcelo Mayer stared at his shortstop's glove in disbelief when it was mentioned that Wembanyama's hands might be bigger. Outfielder Roman Anthony grew up playing basketball and noted that he's become more of a Celtics follower since being drafted. Catcher Nathan Hickey, a lifelong Lakers fan, has paid more attention to the Celtics, too, and appreciated what Stevens had to say.
"He was just talking about the winning culture and what it means to win in Boston," Hickey said. "He talked about how special the fans are here and just the community, how everyone rallies around pro sports in Boston, and how special this town is after moving from Indiana and being a part of it for the last 10 or 11 years."
Abraham joked that his players were probably hoping for floor seats at the Garden, but there's really only one way to make that happen.
"Maybe once they make the big leap," Abraham said, "they'll be able to get those."