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A New Cult Hero In Boston ??

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 A New Cult Hero In Boston ??
Unread 4 years agoclass of '05 - away - #1
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T.O.N.Y. 3303 heat pts3303 space
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Eleven days. Five games played. And already the kid is a cult hero.

How long before they name the New Boston Garden after Greg Stiemsma?

He’s the new Brian Scalabrine. He’s the new Greg Kite. He’s the new Kevin McHale.

He’s the new (gulp) Bill Russell?

Stiemsma has heard it all. Not bad for a guy who most recently played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League.

Not bad for an undrafted center who averaged a whopping 3.5 points per game in his senior season at Wisconsin, a 26-year-old NBA rookie who played last season for Telekom Ankara in Turkey.

“He’s knows exactly who he is,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “That’s what I like most about him. You don’t get that from a lot of young players.’’

The 6-foot-11-inch Stiemsma made his first NBA start Monday night against the Wizards. Surrounded by a supporting cast of Hall of Famers, he connected on 5 of 7 shots, scored 13 points, and grabbed 7 rebounds in a 100-92 victory.

He also blocked two shots, which got the attention of Comcast commentator Tommy Heinsohn. Stiemsma has 13 blocks in his first five games. Heinsohn said Stiemsma’s shot-blocking technique reminds him of Russell.

Mike Gorman, Heinsohn’s broadcast partner, was speechless when the goofy comparison was made, but you could hear Gorman’s jaw drop on the broadcast table. It was the same for just about everyone watching.

Yikes. Bill Russell and Greg Stiemsma? Perfect bookends, right? Like Bobby Orr and Lyndon Byers. John F. Kennedy and Jack E. Robinson. Paris and Fitchburg.

Heinsohn wasn’t backing off before last night’s 89-70 Garden blowout of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets.

“His timing and how he goes about blocking shots does remind me of Russell,’’ said the Celtics legend, who for his entire NBA career was Russell’s teammate. “He makes guys commit, he’s quick to his leap, and he gets his hand up there right when the ball is leaving the shooter’s hand.’’


But Bill Russell? If it wasn’t coming from Tommy, it would be downright sacrilegious. Russell is the greatest winner in the history of sports, copping 11 championships in 13 NBA seasons and never losing a seventh game.

Heinsohn knows Russell’s greatness firsthand. They were rookies together with the Celtics in 1956-57. It’s a little-known fact that Heinsohn was actually NBA Rookie of the Year in Russell’s rookie season. (Russell’s arrival in Boston was delayed by the Melbourne Olympic Games.) Big Bill made up for lost time and the Celtics won their first NBA championship in the spring of 1957.

“I heard about the Russell remark from a waiter at dinner last night,’’ laughed Rivers. “I was just shaking my head. Who’d want to live up to that expectation? My goodness.’’

Stiemsma heard about it, too, from his parents and friends back in Wisconsin.

“A couple of my buddies told me they were watching on TV and heard that,’’ said Stiemsma. “I don’t want to get too far ahead in my comparisons here. That’s a whole other level - obviously one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. Even the slightest comparison is a little bit of a stretch, but at the same time it’s an honor, too.’’

Has he seen grainy black-and-white footage of Russell playing for the Celtics?

“When I was in Turkey, one of the only English-speaking channels was an NBA channel,’’ said Stiemsma. “Hardwood classics and stuff. They played some old games once in a while and I saw some highlights from back in the day.’’

. . . when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and Russell and Heinsohn roamed the parquet floorboards.

Heinsohn isn’t the only Celtic great going overboard with praise for Stiemsma. After Monday’s win, Kevin Garnett said, “He can block shots . . . like no one I’ve ever seen.’’

Stiemsma came back to earth last night, subbing for Jermaine O’Neal and having little impact in the win (1 point, 5 rebounds, and 1 block in 12 minutes).

Count Cedric Maxwell as one who thinks we need to dial it down a bit on Stiemsma.

“I guess he’s a combination of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale,’’ Max said, sarcastically. “I mean, we’ve practically got him in the Hall of Fame in Springfield. Let me state the obvious. He’s white. Let’s give him a chance to succeed or fail on his own.’’

“Nobody thought this kid could do anything,’’ insisted Heinsohn. “He’s a tremendous surprise. He doesn’t need to be great. He just needs to be a factor.’’

“He does a lot,’’ added Rivers. “He tries to block shots every time. He’s a good rebounder, if you set him up he can make shots. He never tries to do more than he can do.’’

Knows who he is. Doesn’t try to do more than he can do. Doc sounds like Bill Parcells talking about Vinny Testaverde or Troy Brown.

“Everybody on our team is starting to come into their own,’’ said Stiemsma. “If I can come in and look to block every shot that I can and play solid defense and rebound, that’s going to be my role. Hit my shots when I’m open and take shots when I’m open.’’

And his cult status?

“I haven’t been downtown a lot,’’ he said. “But I’m looking forward to experiencing the city.’’

He should visit City Hall Plaza first. That’s where they’re scheduled to dedicate a statue to Bill Russell later this year.

[pic - click to view]

Source: Just like Bill Russell?? - The Boston Globe
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Props given to T.O.N.Y. hot topic  (01-05-2012)

8 comments for "A New Cult Hero In Boston ??"

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Unread 4 years agoclass of '07 - away - #2
keithbm1111 96 heat pts96 space
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no one can ever replace brian scalabrine, nice try Greg
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '09 - away - #3
TriniSoldier 55 heat pts55 space
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Greg can grow to be a great defensive force, he wants to block every shot he's been a beast for us like I thought he would. n*ggas acting like 5 boards and a block in 12 minutes for a rookie is bad
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '08 - away - #4
Dee Grande 1010 heat pts1010 space
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only seen him in the game vs the pistons. he was getting worked by greg monroe and got pulled after about the 3rd or 4th straight time
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '05 - away - #5
Junior G 76 heat pts76 space
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Steisma is the best white shot blocker in the league
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '05 - away - #6
MadGam325 14 heat pts14 space
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worth a fantasy pickup?
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '05 - away - #7
rashcobar 5 heat pts space
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MadGam325 said:
worth a fantasy pickup?
if your league is hella deep and u need some blocks to get you over, maybe.

in reality, he won't get more than 15-20 mins on a regular night
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '10 - away - #8
quan3106 50 heat pts50 space
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Why are all cult heros in Boston White dudes...Scalabrini.. Edelman...the other little dude on the Pats...Just never been there dont know the it cuz they collar...what is it about them cuz it always seem like there is a Rudy type underdog white dude gettin alot of love....just curious...serious response doe....a dude tryna get enlightened..
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Unread 4 years agoclass of '04 - away - #9
187Proof 319 heat pts319 space
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Scalabrine The God would not give his stamp of approval.
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