Canton, Massachusetts. – On the night of June 17, 2008, when the Celtics were finishing the Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals for their 17th championship, Joe Mazzola was finishing up his second year at West Virginia.
He’s a native of Rhode Island, so naturally, he was rooting for the Celtics.
“And Johnny West, son of Jerry West, was my roommate in college,” Mazola said. “So, he was obviously watching the Lakers, and obviously I was watching the Celtics. But we were really close friends, so we didn’t have a competition or anything like that. It was really cool watching that series with him.”
And it’s a really great story. In no other year, and under any other circumstances, would the story have been front and center during Mazola’s opening press conference on Monday afternoon as the Celtics interim head coach. Imagine: The last time the Celtics won it all, their new coach watched the game with the son of a Lakers legend!
Mazola told me the story during a phone conversation about an hour after the press conference ended. It never showed up during actual public media availability because there wasn’t enough time for Mzola to play a “Back in the Day” round with all these media people. maybe later. But these are no ordinary times for the Celtics. Mazzola takes over as interim head coach following the startling news last week that Im Odoka, who led the Celtics to Game Six of the NBA Finals last spring,