New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not just leading his team through the busiest period of training camp at the moment — his team held its first full-pads practice of the summer earlier on Monday — but also keeping an eye on another major franchise in the region: the Boston Celtics will square off against the Philadelphia 76ers later today as part of the NBA’s playoff tournament.
Belichick, of course, knows a thing or two about playoff competition. It is therefore not surprising that Celtics head coach Brad Stevens invited him to virtually talk to his team on the eve of its postseason opener. Belichick spoke about the experience during an appearance on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni and Fauria show on Monday.
“We have a great relationship with Coach Stevens here,” said Belichick. “We have several people who have worked with him. Josh [McDaniels] is close with him; I’m close with him. He actually spoke to us earlier in the spring and talked to us a little about their situation. We were starting our season, and they were preparing to go back and finish theirs, so it was quite different, but he was talking about managing time and dealing with some of the challenges of being a professional athlete or a professional football team and things that were going on around us.
“He’s spoken to our guys several times, and he’s great. He does a great job. He did a great job the night that he spoke at my foundation event. So anything I could ever do to help him, or help them, I’d do whatever I could. They treat us so well at Celtics games. If the Celtics were playing at the Garden in the playoffs, we could have a team meeting at halftime. We’d have 25 guys there,” added Belichick.
Stevens took over the Celtics in 2013, and has led the team to the playoffs in six straight seasons — twice reaching the conference championship round. While not having the same success as Belichick had with the Patriots over the last two decades just yet, Boston’s 43-year-old coach is an up-and-comer in pro basketball coaching circles.
“We have a great relationship with him,” said Belichick. “I was flattered that he asked and just tried to talk about playing at the time of year they’re playing at. Playoff basketball and playoff football is a little bit different. I don’t know anything about basketball, but I know a little thing about competition and trying to perform well at the most critical time of the year — which is what they’re in right now.
“It was a great experience for me. I appreciate the opportunity from Coach Stevens and the Celtics, and wish them nothing but the best. I know they get going, and other than when we’re in our meetings and all that, I’m sure we’ll all be watching and all be cheering for them here.”