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Celtics Notebook

Singer amused by fans' call for a 'T'

Vannelli just wants to stop illegal sales

Singer Gino Vannelli has suddenly become popular with Celtics fans - but he sees a foul on the play. Singer Gino Vannelli has suddenly become popular with Celtics fans - but he sees a foul on the play. (2003 file/frank franklin ii/Associated Press)
Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / January 6, 2008

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The real Gino behind the Gino T-shirt is excited about the Gino craze at Celtics home games but is concerned about T-shirt sales.

When the Celtics have a home win in hand and a timeout arrives, an old video from "American Bandstand" is often shown on the Jumbotron at TD Banknorth Garden. Of all the dancers shown, fans get most excited about a bearded man who is grooving slowly while wearing a tight shirt that reads "Gino."

The shirt refers to Gino Vannelli, an Italian-Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, and composer, and it is from one of his 1970s concert tours.

On Friday, Vannelli said he recently saw the "Gino" video on YouTube and is excited that Celtics fans are getting joy from it.

"It's almost as if when I look at that YouTube thing that I was standing out of my body and I wasn't on the planet anymore, just sort of looking back on the grave," said Vannelli in a phone interview. "I remember that T-shirt from the '70s from a tour from my 'Gemini' album.

"The main thing is the Celtics are doing really good. Whatever inspires people . . . It is a totally bizarre thing. Perhaps I ought to make an appearance to sing the national anthem to set the record straight on who the real Gino is.

"I heard about it [two weeks] ago. I heard about it in Holland. People sent me the YouTube link. I gawked and chuckled about it."

Gino-style T-shirts are being worn by fans and even being sold online at cafepress.com. One reads, "Kevin & Paul & Ray & Gino," another says, "The Big Three," with a picture of triplet Ginos and the replica Vannelli concert T-shirt. "I want to buy one of those," said brawny Celtics rookie Glen Davis. "I'm going to get a 2XL so my [muscles] will show."

Vannelli, however, said that the website has not received permission to sell his old concert T-shirt.

"I have no connection with that," said Vannelli, who splits time living in Holland and Oregon. "I believe that they have to get the permission from the record company and my permission. I want to make sure it's on the up and up."

An e-mail from the website in response to a Globe inquiry said, "CafePress is an automated service that allows independent users to upload art and sell merchandise featuring that art. During this process our users agree to terms and conditions and ultimately they are responsible for the content they upload. We looked into the images in question and have decided they should be removed from the system. You will notice that the products are no longer available for sale, and as our site reindexes the images will disappear from search."

As of yesterday afternoon, however, the Vannelli T-shirts in question were still being sold.

No keeping them down

The Celtics were supposed to fly to Detroit following a 100-96 win at TD Banknorth Garden Friday night. But because of mechanical problems with their charter plane, the flight was canceled at about 11:45 p.m. The Celtics ended up departing yesterday around 10 a.m. and arriving in Detroit around noon.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game that his team wouldn't use the plane issue as an excuse. Following a big 92-85 win over the Pistons, it didn't seem like much of a factor.

"We had a back-to-back and flew in on the same day," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "This team is showing a lot of character."

On the trail

Celtics guard Ray Allen said he will vote for president in Massachusetts but won't tip his hand on whom he likes. He said he wants the best candidate, regardless of political party.

Even so, Allen acknowledged that he was impressed by how Illinois Senator Barack Obama won Iowa's Democratic caucus.

"People in this country want change," said Allen. "He seems like a candidate that is for the people. He seems trustworthy. It's hard to say if most people are looking at it from a race point of view, because he knows what he's talking about and he's very confident when he stands in front of anybody in any room.

"One of the things that he said that I'm with all day long is he's going to start attacking lobbyists, change government. For him to say that before he got into government, knowing he's government, changing how the government thinks, and trying to change the whole country, that's how it starts.

"With his campaign, people have to love that because there is a lot of things that people know in this country that need to change. Foreign policy, health care, immigration. There are so many different issues we have in this country that I don't think sit well with anybody. We are literally on the fence with every issue."

Like Obama, Rivers is from Chicago; they spoke in 2004.

"I never shook hands with him, but we've actually talked on the phone once," Rivers said. "It was for something I was doing for the Democratic campaign when [John ] Kerry and [John ] Edwards were running and Barack was involved.

"By the time he was running, I'd been out of Chicago for 15 years. It's good to see a Chicago man do well, though."

On Barack winning the caucus, Rivers said, "It was terrific. I always say let that process work itself out. We'll see. It still was nice. A good story. "A small state like Iowa, it says a lot about our country."

Not in running The Grizzlies aren't expected to buy out the contract of veteran point guard Damon Stoudamire, who wants out because of a lack of playing time. Regardless of whether Stoudamire is bought out or traded, the Celtics aren't expected to get in the mix for him . . . The Celtics will take today off and practice in Waltham tomorrow.

Marc Spears can be reached at spears@globe.com

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