Meeting my friends’ parents is one of my favorite things to do. While I have to save face and hide my flaws it gives such interesting insight as to why they act certain ways or do ridiculous things like make PB & J’s in the most particular and anal way. Perhaps it is my natural inclination towards looking at things through the psychological lens, but the window it provides can show which character traits they wholeheartedly adopt from their guardians and which they chose to reject, enacting the exact opposite beliefs of their mom or dad.
Good thing for the Celtics, Jared Sullinger mimicked most of his basketball cues from his father. Satch Sullinger sounds like he has had the Celtic mind state since birth and passed it on to Jared’s open and attentive ears. The post by Steve Bulpitt is littered with amazing quotes from Satch Sullinger, each one moving him closer and closer to joining the Celtic’s coaching staff. Here is my personal favorite:
“It all starts with character and purpose and getting your head right,” he said. “Like, ‘I’m not getting that rebound to lead the league in rebounding, I’m getting that rebound because the team needs that from me to win.’ Those are two totally different frames of mind, and when kids buy into that and get away from their goals and get into purpose, that’s the only time it opens up their mind to really understand the game….
“Goals are self-serving,” he went on. “Purpose serves others. When we read history, we always read about people who served others, you know what I mean? And that’s all basketball is. The best thing you can do is support the skills that support yours. And the only way you can do that is to step out of yourself and become purposeful. I think that’s what those guys with the Celtics are seeing in Jared. You can’t see the game if you’re just wrapped up into your thing.
Everything we have heard from the Boston camp is that Sullinger is a gritty, team-first player with a extraordinary basketball IQ. It is clear that he adopted many of these traits from his father who was Jared’s high school basketball coach.
Sullinger got the start against the Wizards on Saturday and put up a casual four points and seven rebounds in thirty minutes, but showed that he had the smarts and ability to play with the first unit. He made a couple of reasonable rookie mistakes, but showed growth during his first start in the NBA.
There is a lot to be said for the high character guys in the NBA. Derrick Rose always praises his mother and the strength she has and how that has made him a stronger man. Rose recently donated a games worth of salary to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and has shown a great deal of strength during his (over commercialized) recovery effort. Kevin Durant also gives his mother a great deal of credit for all of his success, being one of the more thoughtful and insightful NBA players. Superstars with strong convictions and moral constitutions are becoming the norm in the NBA, and it is great to see for a league which has been constantly waging a war against fans who discredit the league for being too rough and edgy (see: NBA cares ad campaign).
Jared Sullinger is no where near the level of play of D-Rose or Durant, and this is not to strike a ability comparison between the three, simply to appreciate the new age of basketball and that it is happening right here in Boston. Satch Sullinger said it best, “You know, anybody that’s wrapped up in themselves is going to make a very small package.” Excuse the pun, but as we unwrap the Celtics first round draft pick, there is a whole lot to like.