HomeNBAJoe Mazzulla on befriending fellow NBA coaches: 'I don't'

Joe Mazzulla on befriending fellow NBA coaches: ‘I don’t’


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At age 35, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is one of the youngest coaches in the NBA, and the 2023-24 regular season marks just his second year as a coach at the highest level. That doesn’t mean the Rhode Islander hasn’t made his mark in the NBA, however. Mazzulla led Boston to within one game of a trip to the NBA Finals in his first season as a pro last year, and he and the Celtics have equally lofty postseason goals for this spring.

Mazzulla has also turned heads with his direct approach to everything from press conferences to in-season tournament seeding. This has led to some intriguing exchanges, including with fellow coaches, who have questioned some of Mazzulla’s tactics, including when and how he instructs his players to intentionally foul. Friday night ahead of Boston’s game against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, Mazzulla was asked about his approach to building relationships with his peer coaches in the NBA.

“How can I say this nicely,” Mazzulla joked. “I don’t care?”

“I also have respect for people,” Mazzulla continued. “I learn from every coach. I think there’s a lot of great coaches in the league. I’ve studied what other teams do.”

Mazzulla has been cavalier about sticking to the tactics he believes will best serve his team. At the same time, he has promoted building community, love, and trust among his players and coaches. Apparently that sentiment doesn’t extend beyond the Celtics locker room.

“But as far as having any off court relationships with a coach, I don’t,” Mazzulla stated with a grin. “That’s like the last thing on the list.”

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3GfUPFi

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