Celtics players and coaches lock arms during national anthem

"We've had a lot of sit-down discussions about it," said Brad Stevens.

The Celtics sent a message of unity ahead of the team’s preseason opener on Tuesday night, as the team’s players and coaches locked arms during the singing of the national anthem.

“Stand together, and demonstrate the power of #unity.”

A photo posted by Boston Celtics (@celtics) on

The Celtics Twitter account also released a video from 17 members of the team’s roster promoting the idea of unity.

“It was an idea they came to us, the old Celtics in the 60s, that they did that and the message was very clear,” Al Horford told reporters in Amherst. “And I was all about unity and it was something we felt was something that’s very powerful and we wanted to do something.”

Amir Johnson posted a photo of that Celtics team holding that same pose after the game to his Instagram account.

“We’ve had a lot of sit-down discussions about it,” Brad Stevens told reporters when asked about the team’s anthem display. “We’ve had a lot of individual discussions. We’ve had three or four meetings after practices, sometimes just players, sometimes just us, sometimes people we’ve invited in from the outside to spend time with our guys. Our guys have been incredibly thoughtful and I think, like from what I’ve seen across the NBA early on, I think our guys are really focused on promoting positive unity, togetherness, progress, and all those types of things. But those have been, as far as deep, certainly good discussions, they’ve been great. And I commend our guys for sharing and for thinking and for really looking at this in a really insightful way.


“I think one of the great things about being a part of a team is you all come from different backgrounds and you learn about each other and you all come together for the common cause, and that’s why we all love sports, right?” Stevens added. “We can all rally around that common cause and we can rally around teams. But I think when you really get into deep, impactful stuff, those are special conversations and sometimes those are uncomfortable and sometimes there can be tension around those, but I think that’s the beautiful part about our group, is that they all appreciate one another, really support one another. And again, I think you’ll see, like I think they’re very much into what the teams that I’ve seen thus far, in talking about togetherness and continued progress.”


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