On this day in Boston Celtics history, former Celtics center Travis Knight was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for big man Tony Battie. Knight was picked up with the 29th overall pick of the 1996 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls after an outstanding career at the University of Connecticut,
Knight was soon renounced by the Bulls, who did not want to give him a three-year deal at that time. He then signed with the Lakers on a one-year deal, which he parlayed into an appearance in the 1997 Rookie All-Star Game, and later, a seven-year deal with Boston under new Coach and General Manager Rick Pitino.
Knight understood he was only cut out to be a role player as a pro, and implied he’d made a deal he regretted regarding playing for coach Pitino.
(JOHN MOTTERN/AFP via Getty Images)
That sentiment was far from mutual, however; the former Kentucky coach raved about the UConn alum.
Knight couldn’t hang with Pitino’s tendency to yell, evidently — which seems to have been something that happened quite a bit.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
“With Coach [Jim] Calhoun, I knew that he cared about me as a person, not just as a basketball player,” Knight said (per the Hartford Courant).
“Even though he would yell, I always knew where I stood with him. Maybe I knew Coach Calhoun better. Maybe that’s why [coach Pitino yelling at his players] doesn’t bother the Kentucky guys so much. He yells at them, and they’re fine the next day.”
“It’s a fine line between motivation and insult,” he added. “It’s a very fine line.”
The former Husky wanted out, and got his wish in January of 1999, traded back to Los Angeles for Battie on this date; he would average 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a Celtic.
It is also the anniversary of Bob Cousy being named Most Valued Player of the 1954 NBA All-Star Game, which saw the contest head into overtime for the first time in league history.
Cousy scored ten points in the extra period to give the East a 98-93 win over the West.
In recognizance of his crucial performance in the overtime period, Cousy was awarded All-Star MVP.
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