No, the Boston Celtics aren't the most talented team in the NBA. But as far as professionalism and character are concerned, the 2011-12 Celtics are certainly among the tops in the league -- if not the top -- in quality players.
Sure, you have your stars in Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who are all quality guys in their own right with a great amount of poise and professionalism. It doesn't stop there, though. I would challenge anyone to find one player in that locker room who isn't a quality professional.
Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox and Greg Stiemsma are all extremely respectful and professional. So are Marquis Daniels, Avery Bradley, Sasha Pavlovic, rookies JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore. Keyon Dooling is a fun player to talk to, mixing in jokes regularly in his press conference, all while being a class act.
Jermaine O'Neal is a consumate professional, one who quickly earns your respect after a few interviews. Mickael Pietrus hasn't been around for very long, but he's already established himself as a fun-loving pro who is grateful to be playing in Boston. All in all, this may be the best group of guys character wise we've seen in the last ten years.
Sure, there are guys who can be misunderstood. Garnett and Rondo can both be hot-headed at times, but they won't openly rebuke a reporter or fan. They do most of their talking out on the court, which is to be expected. With their teammates and the media, they certainly aren't a problem.
Granted I am a tad bit biased on this subject, but you would be hard pressed to find a more tightly-knit group of respectful, thoughtful professionals who represent everything that is the 17-time world champion Celtics stand for.
Go ahead and try. You won't find another one.
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