Tacko Fall discussed his rookie year, his future in Boston, and viewing his height as a blessing

"I tell a lot of people, if I could retire here, I probably would."

Tacko Fall said he loves playing for the Celtics.
Tacko Fall said he loves playing for the Celtics. –Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Tacko Fall said he’s loved his time in Boston so far and is excited about what he hopes is a long future with the Celtics.

“I tell a lot of people, if I could retire here, I probably would,” Fall said.

The 7-foot-5 center, who is set to enter his second year with the Celtics, discussed his growth as a rookie, his plans going forward, and how he views his height as a blessing. Fall, speaking as part of a Heroes Among Us event Thursday evening, called joining the Celtics one of the best decisions he’s made.

He recounted the initial disappointment and ensuing joy he experienced on draft night. At first, as he sat there in person, and listened to dozens of names get called but never heard his own, he was understandably melancholy. Fall tried to remain positive, but he had trouble blocking out the frustration.

Then he got back to his hotel, and Celtics Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge called him and was adamant about the fact that the Celtics wanted Fall to join the team. Fall received other calls, he said, but he could see there was something different about the Celtics.

“You can tell when someone really wants you and believes in you,” Fall said. “That’s something that I really felt from Boston right away.”

As he arrived in Boston, he said he benefited right away from the leadership of the veterans, the camaraderie of his fellow rookies, and the staff and ownership. He particularly appreciated the levity Enes Kanter brought.

“Sometimes I felt like I was the vet, though, with Enes, because he can act a little childish, sometimes,” Fall said with a laugh.

He said he could tell immediately that Boston fans are passionate about their teams, and he appreciated the culture right away. Rather than deflect all the attention he got, he chose to run with it.

Fall said he’s learned, particularly through charity events and games at TD Garden, that it makes sense that people want to get to know him because of his stature. He gets it, and he does his best to use that extra attention to brighten people’s days.

“It’s something that I’ve developed,” Fall said. “For me, it was just a matter of perspective. You’ve just got to look at it as a blessing, pretty much. That’s something that I’ve been blessed with, and I shouldn’t run away from it. That really made me embrace it a lot more.” 

As Fall became a phenomenon culturally, he also blossomed into a more polished player on the court. He said the most difficult adjustment was learning to move in and out of the paint and avoid getting called for three seconds.

Going to the bubble was difficult at first, because he wanted to spend more time with his family, but he adjusted and used the time as a chance to sharpen his craft. He worked diligently with Jay Larranaga to strengthen his post moves, among other skills, and he said he’s seen concrete results over the past few months.

Fall recently worked out with close friend and teammate Grant Williams and Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner. While it can be difficult to find players to watch on film and model his game after, Fall enjoys monitoring the habits of many centers, past and present.

This offseason, he said his main priority is getting into the best shape of his life, and he said he’s already dropped below his target weight.

Fall is eagerly awaiting another run with the Celtics, and he knows the team is capable of making even more noise this time around.

“I really believe we could have gone all the way,” Fall said. “We had the talent and the drive to do it. Because of that, it’s going to give us an edge next season, and I’m really looking forward to everybody coming back and getting to work. I’m sure everyone’s focus will be on another level.”

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