Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca will represent the team Tuesday night in New York as Boston tries to turn around its history of sorry luck in the NBA Draft Lottery (8 p.m., ESPN). Boston has a 10.3 percent chance at the top pick and 33.4 percent chance of a top-three pick, but Pagliuca will try to massage those odds with a couple of good-luck charms.
Pagliuca will wear a tie given to him by Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach. In addition, Pagliuca will pack in his briefcase a ceramic rooster, given to him by the US ambassador to Portugal, Bob Sherman.
"It's a symbol of luck in Portugal," says Pagliuca. "There are a lot of Celtics fans there who are rooting for us [Tuesday] night."
Pagliuca's rooster, which he says is eight inches high and four inches wide, represents the Rooster of Barcelos, a common emblem of that country. According to the 17th-century legend, a man accused of stealing silver from a landowner in Barcelos was condemned to hang for the crime, despite him pleading his innocence. The man pointed to a rooster on the table that had been roasted and said that if he was innocent, the bird would crow when they hanged him. To everyone's astonishment, the rooster stood up on the table and crowed, and the man was freed.
The tie has little leprechauns on it. When the current ownership group took over the team, Pagliuca says Auerbach called him and Wyc Grousbeck into his office and presented them each with a tie.
"His office hadn't changed since the 1950s or 60s," said Pagliuca. "On the tie it says 'Boys & Girls Clubs'. I think he got it at some event. ... It's a very nice tie."
The actual lottery will take place several hours before the results are televised. Celtics president Rich Gotham will be in room to make sure things are on the up and up, but Pagliuca won't find out what happens until he's live on television.
"I'll know when you do he," he says.
Pagliuca says he's hoping for luck but isn't stressing too much about where the ping pong balls fall. A fan sent him a box of Lucky Charms, which he says couldn't hurt.
"Danny [Ainge] has been great at picking anywhere," said Pagliuca. "We should get a good player no matter which pick I end up with. It's important to remember Danny has a plan A, B, and C, no matter what happens."
But he added, "Bring your rabbit's foot in [Tuesday], OK?"