Aron Baynes described the difference between giving thanks in Australia and America

Aron Baynes Boston Celtics
Aron Baynes looks to pass around Brook Lopez during the first quarter. –AP Photo/Winslow Townson

The Celtics got into the holiday spirit last week with a Thanksgiving meal at Boston’s Top of the Hub Skywalk, where seven players and four assistant coaches joined 15 families from the Boston Centers for Youth & Families for a traditional feast and some thankful reflection.

Among the Celtics in attendance was new center Aron Baynes. Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Baynes expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be, well, thankful.

“Coming from Australia, we don’t have a day of Thanksgiving,” he told his teammates and 75 dinner attendees. “I think you guys are a league ahead of us because you have days that are put aside to be thankful for what you have. Not only that, but you’re expressive to everyone you’re thankful for. We don’t do that enough in Australia.”

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“We kind of assume that everyone knows how thankful you are for them, but we don’t go out of our way to make that seen,” Baynes continued. “That’s one thing I’ve really embraced with my family. We always try to express it more so now. Like how many times is enough to say ‘I love you’ to someone? There’s never enough. I could never say it enough to my wife, to my boy. So now it’s just an every day thing. I try to take steps to express that.”

The 6-foot-10 center tries to take the sentiment beyond his family, too.

“I try to express it to everyone who impacts my life, as to how much love I have for them,” he said. “That’s why I love days like this. Sure, the turkey’s good, but it’s more so just going out and letting everyone know how thankful you are for them. I’m thankful for you guys embracing me in this community. I walk around the street and people call out to me, and I’ll stop and have a chat with them. I just enjoy being on the stage that we’re on. I have the ability to stop and talk to people, and it makes their day, but they don’t understand that it’s fun for me as well.”

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Baynes attended Washington State University before playing basketball overseas for four years. In 2013, he moved back to the U.S. after signing with the San Antonio Spurs and has remained in the NBA ever since. The 30-year-old has lived in Boston for only a little over three months, but said he is hoping to do whatever he can to “try and make the community better.”

“I’m going to put everything that I have into it,” he said. “The love I have for my family, I want them to be embraced here by the community more so than me. They’re here all year round, while we go other places. So for me, to be able to leave them in a place that I’m comfortable with, that’s what I want. Anything I can do to try and impact that and be positive, I’m going to do it.”