BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics forward Jae Crowder was none-to-pleased with Boston fans on Tuesday night, which caught head coach Brad Stevens by surprise.
Crowder said he felt “disrespected” that some fans were cheering for Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward prior to Tuesday night’s win over the Jazz. Hayward is set to be a free agent after this season and has long been rumored to be a target of the Celtics. It’s a connection that makes some sense, as Stevens coached Hayward at Butler during their days in the college ranks.
But Crowder didn’t like hearing an opposing player get the admiration from his home crowd, and expressed those feelings in the locker room and later on social media. As most things tend to do on Twitter, it got a little feisty between Crowder and some Celtics fans.
Stevens joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday, and said he has spoken with Crowder since his Twitter outburst, which caught the coach off guard.
“I talked to Jae this morning and the first thing he said was he wished he wouldn’t have expressed himself like that,” said Stevens. “We talk all the time about embracing the expectations of being an athlete here in Boston. This city is such a tremendous sports town and offers our guys such an opportunity to grow, and feel those banners above us and the expectations of really being a team-first player and playing as hard as you can.
“A lot of guys have embraced it, and I’m not sure guys have embraced it as much as Jae over the last two years,” continued Stevens. “I was surprised to see what he tweeted, because every day he comes in you can tell he is thankful to be a Celtic.”
Stevens said Crowder represents the best of being a member of the Celtics, and said the forward’s play on the floor should speak louder than anything he says off of it.
“I was surprised, but his body of work is a better example for his appreciation of where he is and playing here. I love what he brings to our team and I think everybody would agree with me on that. It was just an emotional reaction and onward we move,” said Stevens.
Now in his fourth season on the Boston bench, Stevens said Boston’s passionate fan base was part of the reason he left Butler for the NBA.
“The fan base made a difference for me coming here. When you think about the opportunity to coach the Boston Celtics, one of the things you think about are the fans and just how passionate people are around here. Everybody on our teams knows that, and Jae knows that, obviously,” said Stevens.
“Everybody takes responsibility for playing the way fans want to see this team to play,” Stevens continued. “We love Jae and we love what he brings to us. … I’ve never gotten the impression that he’s anything but all-in.”