Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla clarified his ‘worst coach ever’ comment

"My eyes lit up and I was like, 'I'm an idiot,'" Mazzulla said, realizing he made a mistake earlier in the day.

Joe Mazzulla said his "worst coach ever" comment came because he forgot to show recognition to Marcus Smart for winning an award. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Despite helping the Celtics to one of the best records in the regular season, head coach Joe Mazzulla has dealt with a fair share of criticism and questioning of his coaching in his rookie season.

So, when Mazzulla was heard saying, “I’m the worst coach ever,” as his video press conference ended Thursday, some wondered if he was showing some sort of frustration over the way he was questioned about his coaching style.

Mazzulla explained Friday, though, that the comment was about something else.

“Yeah, I apologize. We had just got back from film and I had missed an opportunity to show appreciation to one of our guys,” Mazzulla said. “Time with the guys is sacred in film. I had just been informed that [Marcus] Smart had just won the Hustle Award and we went through an entire film session and I didn’t show my appreciation for him.”


When Mazzulla was asked about it during Thursday’s press conference, that’s when he said he realized he made the mistake.

“My eyes lit up and I was like, ‘I’m an idiot,'” Mazzulla said. “So, as I was signing off, I was like, ‘Damn.’ I texted him right away.”

Mazzulla also shared why he thinks it’s important to show appreciation to players for winning individual awards in front of the rest of the team.

“It’s important in situations,” Mazzulla said. “I know it’s about the team, and our guys do that, but I really love showing appreciation when guys get individual awards, especially ones like that one, because of the sacrifice they put into it and the work they have.

“If I do do something like that, I do think I need to be better.”

Mazzulla’s comment on Thursday wasn’t the only notable quote he had at the end of a press conference this week. Following the Celtics’ Game 2 win over the 76ers, Mazzulla said, “No one wants to ask about all of the adjustments we made from Game 1 to Game 2?”

As for Smart, it’s the third time he’s won the NBA’s Hustle Award in his career.


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