NBA Insider Reveals Brad Stevens Initially Declined Boston Celtics Job Before Being Convinced by His Wife

Published 12/22/2020, 5:30 AM EST
Dec 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reacts during the fourth quarter of a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


The Boston Celtics‘ last ring came under coach Doc Rivers in 2008. Following his departure in 2013, they needed a capable coach to steer the ship. They took a gamble and brought in a 36-year-old Brad Stevens, who had no NBA experience at that time.

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While Stevens has become one of the best in the business currently, he came very close to never taking the Celtics job. Michael Holley from NBC Sports Boston revealed that when Stevens was first offered the job by GM Danny Ainge, he refused. He was later convinced by his wife Tracy to take the job. She had apparently said, “You’ll never be as good as you can unless you’re uncomfortable. We love Butler, it’s been great to us, we got a lifetime contract here. But you gotta push yourself.”

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Brad Stevens: From Butler Bulldogs to Boston Celtics

During his time at Butler, Stevens took the team to two NCAA tournament Finals appearances in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011. He became the youngest coach to take a team to the Finals, since Branch McCracken, who did it in 1941 as a 31-year-old. The Bulldogs had never reached the Finals before, and since his departure, they haven’t been the same.

When he arrived in the NBA, Stevens was the youngest coach at that time. The Celtics had just lost Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets, and their best players were Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo. They finished with just 25 wins in his first season.

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In the following season, Stevens took the Celtics to 40 wins and brought them back to the playoffs. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, they reached the first round of the playoffs. Since then, they have been on a roll. They have reached three Conference Finals in four years and have constantly been one of the best teams in the East. Had it not been for LeBron James, they would have made it to the NBA Finals too.

The Bucks and the Nets are predicted to be the top two teams in the East, according to a survey involving NBA GMs. So Stevens will be aiming for some upsets to take the Celtics to their first NBA Finals since 2009.

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Aaron Mathew

1556 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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