BOSTON (CBS) — Friday night will be a bit of a homecoming for David Blatt.
The man in charge of molding LeBron James, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers into a championship team will make his first visit to Boston as a head coach in the NBA. A Framingham native and 1977 graduate from Framingham High, Blatt remembers attending Celtics games with his father and faithfully listening to games the old fashioned way as a young boy.READ MORE: Patriots Denied Peyton Manning Access To Interview Mac Jones Before Bills Game
“Yes, I was a Celtics fan growing up,” he admitted. “I was listening to Celtics’ broadcasts with Jonny Most with a transistor radio stuck in my ear for many years. Bill Russell was my childhood hero.”
But the 55-year-old won’t let those warm feelings for Boston get in the way of his job come Friday night.
“Things have changed since then — no disrespect to Bill. I’ve just moved on to other things, that’s all,” he said. “It’s kind of a neat thing and kind of special, but nothing that is going to keep me from doing my job to the best of my ability.”
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While Blatt’s excitement may be a bit tempered, his superstar player is hoping Friday night will be a night his head coach won’t soon forget.READ MORE: TJX Will Require COVID Booster Shots For Office Employees
“It will be special. I’m sure he’ll have some friends and family there, and it will be special for him to return there as a head coach in the NBA,” said James. “It was probably a dream of his, and for him to go back will be pretty awesome.”
This season is Blatt’s first chance in the NBA after a long and successful run of playing and coaching overseas in Israel and Russia. He turned down numerous NBA assistant coaching gigs over the years, a decision that appears to have paid off. Blatt was named the Euroleague Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to a title, and was a four-time Israeli League Coach of the Year before taking the Cleveland job over the summer.
While Blatt boosted his knowledge of the game of basketball in his three decades overseas, there is one thing he lost: His Boston accent. But if you’re sitting near the Cleveland bench on Friday night, don’t be surprised to hear a few unpronounced Rs as his surroundings set in throughout the game.
“That left together with me leaving the United States 33 years ago, but when I get back there, I’ll ‘staht pahking my cah in Hahvahd yahd,'” he joked with reporters. “It’s easy for me to fall right back into it.
“I speak four languages, but 17 dialects. I’ve been a lot of different places,” he said. “‘Bahston’ talk is easy for me.”MORE NEWS: Student Charged With Taking 'Authentic Looking' Toy Gun, Alcohol To School In Lynn
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