All-stars of the Boston city league stood inside the TD Garden at the Celtics Wizards game ready to be honored at halftime for their efforts throughout the season.
Instead of an honor from a crowd of thousands, they got an apology from one Celtics community relations worker.
“This opportunity tonight represented more than just coming to see a Celtics game,” Brighton boys’ coach of the year Hugh Coleman said. “The students really had their hearts set on being on that floor and being honored in front of this crowd.”
Those students were the winners of the boys’ and girls’ city league all star game. After the win, the players were promised to be honored at halftime of the Celtics game in addition to their free tickets. BSA director Chris Rooks confirmed that this was the award for the winners.
However, as the clock trickled down in the second quarter, no one came to get the city league players. Instead they had to watch student-athletes from different schools around the state get the recognition that they were promised.
“Hugh bringing the [boys’ Division 2 state] championship home to the city, that would have brought a lot of acknowledgement that the city is doing something good and here are these young great all stars from the city and that wasn’t acknowledged today. A lot of suburbs were out there but Boston itself was not represented out there. It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate,” girls’ coach of the year Emily Coleman said.
While the Latin Academy coach said the group did appreciate the free trip to the Garden, it wasn’t the same as looking upon the crowd from on top of the Celtics logo.
“They left us out and we should have been honored as well as everyone else today. We put our hard work into it and we just got let down,” English senior Braxton Gulleymabry said.
After halftime, Celtics director of community relations Matt Meyersohn met with the players and coaches to express apologies from the Celtics. He later gave this statement on the mistake.
“There’s been a miscommunication with some staff turnover and we didn’t know what had been promised until it had been too late and we’re going to make it right for every one of the kids and give them the recognition they deserve as city all stars and bring them out and get them recognized and show how proud we are of them as student athletes,” Meyersohn said.
No date has been confirmed about when that game will be. There are only two more regular season Celtics home games before the NBA playoffs begin.
Rooks also confirmed that the BSA is currently working with the Celtics to get the all stars back to the Garden. He also continued to show the BSA’s support for the student’s effort on the court and in the classroom throughout the year.
“We’re very proud of the efforts of our all-stars to win an opportunity to go to the Celtics game,” Rooks said.
The all-stars were allowed to shoot around and take pictures on the Celtics court after the game but the general consensus among the group was that it didn’t make up for the lack of a halftime honor. Some players even passed on the opportunity.
“No one’s going to be here! It doesn’t matter,” Latin Academy senior guard Ayjah Willis said. “We put so much work in our season to make it as all-stars and then we played so hard in the all star-game for a treat like this, to be honored in front of all these people and then it’s just a letdown.”
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