The Boston Celtics, whose preseason trip to Rome has been given some credit for the 2008 title (also given credit: a greatly talented and devoted roster), will hold their 2012-13 training camp in Turkey and Italy, according to the Boston Herald.
Danny Ainge commented on training camps in general, saying he didn’t believe going away was necessary for a team to form a closer bond.
“I personally feel that going away can be good, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” Ainge said. “I think there’s many ways to bond. The best part may be getting a little bit of a head start. But I’ve been on teams where we won championships and we had training camp at our practice facility. I don’t think that those are difference makers or that teams come together. For example, in 2007-08, I still think our team would have come together if we were in the parking lot in Waltham. That year worked because of the attitude of our team.
“Now do I think we benefited from going to Rome? Sure. But I do believe that the attitude of our players and the spirit was more important. I mean, you could feel it the second that those guys were put together. I think that overrides wherever training camp is. Guys who can play and who like each other and are enthusiastic about the team — those are the most important things, more than location.”
To be clear on my stance: The Celtics didn’t win the 2008 title because they took a preseason trip to Rome. They won the 2008 title because the Big Three were all in the tail end of their primes, because they had one of the best defenses in NBA history and because Paul Pierce played his ass off whenever the Celtics needed it in the playoffs (among others, see: Game 7, Eastern Conference semifinals).
But going to Rome didn’t hurt. When girlfriends, wives, children and outside friends are all thousands of miles away, bonding becomes easier.