Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is back to work after suffering a second heart attack, and while he’s apparently no worse for the wear, the experience seems to have reawakened him to how precious life can be and how lucky he is, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
“You just move on,” says Ainge. “I just had some chest pains and went to the hospital and, you know, had a heart attack and had a stent put in… it’s just… it’s just a wake-up call… I’m at the stage in my life where I’m attending way too many funerals, so I’m just happy to be here and excited for our upcoming season. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the players. They keep me young. They’re a lot of fun to be around, as you can see by the four guys we just drafted.”
Ainge says he wasn’t scared when the incident happened, but he now realizes that he needs to treat himself better moving forward.
“I’m scared enough to the point where I want to eat better and I want to be healthier, and I’m listening to my doctors a little more diligently and taking better care of myself. So, yeah, I wouldn’t say that I was unhealthy, but I would say that I didn’t do what I needed to be doing, and I should have shown from having an episode 10 years ago. So, you know, you get really motivated for six months and then you sort of feel great again. I feel great now. I feel as healthy as I’ve felt.”
Ainge also spoke on the topic of whether the stress of being the head of an NBA team’s basketball operations department factored into his health issues.
“You wonder how much of it is work and stress and those things but, you know, everybody has to manage challenges, health challenges and stress challenges. I would say that there are stressful days, but the job overall is not high stress, in my opinion. There are stressful moments, (but) coaching is much harder. I’ve done that job. But my job is more to keep people in a good frame of mind, keep people positive through the adversity of a season. And just my nature, I’m more positive and see the bright side in things, and I think that eliminates a lot of stress.”
There’s more news out of Boston tonight:
- Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics are hiring Fairmont (WV) State coach Joe Mazzulla as an assistant coach. Mazzulla, who made a strong impression with the Celtics G League staff a few years back, played for new Cavs’ head coach John Beilein at West Virginia.
- Despite the fact that the Celtics are likely losing both point guard Kyrie Irving and big man Al Horford to free agency, incumbent guard Marcus Smart is optimistic about the team’s prospects for the 2019/20 season, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Hey, the thing is, the Raptors just won the championship, right? But they’ve got to start back over from the beginning just like we do… so everybody’s starting over, regardless if they have the same team or not, they’ve all got to start from the beginning. That’s how we take it. We take it as we come in, and we have an opportunity to do something special, and we get another chance to do it.”
- In another story for ESPN, Bontemps adds that with free agency right around the corner, Ainge finds himself with holes at point guard and center and with a roster that features 11 players who are 25 or younger, just one season after being a team that seemed destined to compete for championships right away.