BOSTON (CBS) — There will be no Kelly Olynyk video montage on Wednesday night when he makes his only trip to Boston this season, but the Celtics do have something special planned for their former big man.
Olynyk spent his first four NBA seasons with the Celtics before signing with the Miami Heat in the offseason, and though he never really became the force Danny Ainge hoped for on the floor, he certainly made a big impact off it. Olynyk was one of the most active Celtics when it came to participating in events throughout the community, whether it be hanging out with kids at a local center, dedicated a new computer lab at a school, or tagging along on a field trip at Canobie Lake Park.
Argue about his contributions on the floor all you want, but there is no denying Olynyk was an MVP in the community during his time in Boston. For all of his contributions in the community, the Celtics will honor Olynyk as Wednesday night’s “Hero Among Us,” given to those who have made an overwhelming impact in the Boston community.
Olynyk learned about the Celtics’ plans following Miami’s morning shootaround at the TD Garden on Wednesday, and was flattered by the gesture.
“I love this community and everything the Celtics did. It was fun to get out there with kids, especially,” said Olynyk. “This community does a lot for this team. When I first got here we weren’t very good at all, but they support you. No matter what your record is, they’ll be behind you, so I wanted to get behind them.
“All you do is give back time, really,” he added. “You can change someone’s life, so if you have the power to do that, it’s something you should use.
The Celtics traded up in the 2013 draft to take Olynyk 13th overall out of Gonzaga, but he never really lived up to the hype that came with being a seven-footer who could knock down deep shots. His biggest contribution on the floor came in one of his last games for the Celtics, when he exploded for 26 points in 28 minutes in Boston’s roller coaster Game 7 win over the Wizards in the Eastern Conference semis last postseason.
But he always loved Boston and being a Celtic, and is looking forward to playing in front of his former fans on Wednesday night.
“It kind of feels like you’re back at home, really. This is a special place,” Olynyk said. “I grew up here, became a man here. This is a real special place in my heart and will be for the rest of my life.”
Olynyk won’t get the same kind of video tribute chalked full of memorable highlights that former players have been treated to over the years upon their return, but a much more unique and special honor will be given to Olynyk on Wednesday night.