Avery Bradley is looking forward to taking on his former team when the Celtics host the Lakers on Monday.
“I’m coming back, I’m excited,” Bradley said over the phone Tuesday. “It’s going to be weird for me, having a jersey on and being back in Boston — for myself and (Rajon) Rondo. I think it’s going to be fun, though. ”
The now-Laker guard spent seven seasons suiting up for the Celtics after he was selected as the 19th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played a vital role on the roster, and during the 2016-17 season, he averaged a career-high 16.3 points and helped solidify a Game 5 win over the Washington Wizards during the Eastern Conference playoffs by scoring 29 points. On the other end of the floor, Bradley was a two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team, delivering a defensive effort that was just about unmatched when guarding the league’s best.
Even his competitors at the time, such as Lakers forward LeBron James — then on the Miami Heat — have raved about him.
“He’s one of the best guys that we’ve seen,” James said in 2012 following a 91-72 Celtics win over the Heat. “As far as from baseline to baseline, he’s really good … He brings another dynamic to their team that they have used and works for them.”
Bradley joined forces with James when he signed with the Lakers in July, but his appreciation for Boston has not wavered over the years. He still considers himself “a bit of a Bostonian” and remains close friends with people from the city, such as Dorchester-native and rapper Cousin Stizz.
“It’s different, but I prefer my people on the East Coast,” Bradley said. “Some people might be offended by that, but I mean, especially knowing I’m from the West Coast. I don’t know if it’s because it’s home for me or what, but I just feel like people are real good friends. That’s all it is. I could go years without talking to someone in Boston but [when] I see them, it’s a real friendship. People are honest, that’s the culture. East Coast, but specifically Boston. People are just good people.”