BOSTON — The Boston Celtics’ conference calls have become a star-studded affair, with Mark Wahlberg and LL Cool J talking to the team while it is waiting out the coronavirus pandemic.
Also making an appearance was former NFL player Myron Rolle, who went on to become a doctor and is now treating COVID-19 patients at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge says Rolle has a “fascinating story” that he shared with the team. Wahlberg, a Boston native frequently seen courtside at Celtics games, told stories from his acting and singing career.
“He was a lot of fun. Our players got a kick out of him,” Ainge said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We’ve had some very inspirational speakers.”
Ainge said he is trying to get ready for the NBA draft while still holding out hope that the season will be able to resume. If that has to happen without fans, he said: “It’s not as much fun. It’s not ideal.”
“But it’s better than not playing,” he said, adding that he’s seen exciting games in college or high school gyms with just a few dozen fans. “I’ve been involved in practices where there are zero fans in the room, and it’s intense. It’s a battle. I think it’s not ideal, but I think it could work.”
Ainge also said that he and his family have been watching the ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. Ainge made an appearance in the first episodes because he played golf with Jordan before a playoff game in which the Bulls star scored 63 points.
But the former Celtics guard said it was all new to his family.
“It was fun because they didn’t have too much recollection of it. When I tried to chime in and make a comment on what was happening, they gave me the hush,” Ainge said. “That was fun, to see how excited they were, and how little they knew of the era, and how little they knew about Michael. They were just intrigued by who he was.”