36-year-old Al Horford knows that he won’t get too many more chances of earning a NBA Championship than this season with Boston before he finally retires, and his sense of urgency is motivating his teammates during this Eastern Conference series vs. Miami.
Now that the Heat have taken lead in the series with a 116-123 road victory in Game 1, the veteran center is starting to inspire his locker room to pick up their intensity even in practice.
“Al’s been that special leader for us all season.”
Malcolm Brogdon tells how Al Horford set the tone and raised the intensity in our first ECF practice.https://t.co/xk96oJMoCr
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2023
His teammate Malcolm Brogdon recalled how Horford is taking his leadership skills to another level this week in training.
“Practice was light, and guys were a little loose,” Malcolm Brogdon recalled after training was over. “And Al brought us together in the middle of practice and just told us to tighten it up. I think it’s those constant reminders from our leader that’s going to help us stay poised, start the series poised, and really lock in.”
As it has been mentioned many times in the past, whenever the Celtics big man opens his mouth, the entire team shuts up and listens. According to Brogdon, the team has great respect for his almost 1,200 games of experience, with more than 38,000 minutes on court after 16 years in the NBA.
“I think he’s seen the most, but he’s also just sort of taken the throne on leading us,” said Brogdon, who admires the center’s work ethic as much as his knowledge of the game.
“And you know you have a special leader when guys like Jayson Tatum, a top-five player in the world, Jaylen Brown, another top player in the world, listen to him,” he assured. “They quiet, they listen to him. They want his feedback. They want his leadership. So Al’s been that special leader for us all season.”
Horford’s leadership was on full display during this last series against the Philadelphia 76ers
According to many of the players who share the locker room with him, Horford was inspiring all throughout their seven-game series vs. the Sixers in the Eastern Conference’s semifinal.
One great example was after the Celtics lost Game 5 and were on the brink of saying goodbye to the competition, and the veteran center wrapped his arms around stars Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart to motivate them towards the following contests.
“I was just making sure everybody was good,” he later told the press about that situation. “Making sure everybody was ready for [Game 6].”
Take a look at some of his inspiring highlights in the recent series against his former Philadelphia team:
“The guy we followed all season, our leader, is Al Horford,” Brogdon repeated. “I think he’s going to continue to lead us.”
“Al has given this league so much,” he said, as he knows just how badly he deserves a trophy. “He’s given this organization so much, these guys so much. And I think a big piece for us is to want to see him go out on top, go out with a championship, go out with a ring. Because he’s more deserving than anybody.”
Source: Basketball Insider