He was supposed to be the next Danny Ainge but he couldn't polish Danny's shoes.  In fact I've heard he had to be included in the Antoine for Raef deal in order for it to go through (for the Celtics).  Danny Ainge thought he was acquiring a real talent with Jiri Welsch.  He wasn't.

After playing for Golden State for just 37 games, Dallas acquired him. Two months later in October of 2003, before even playing in Dallas, Welsch was included in the Antoine Walker deal along with the corpse of Chris Mills, and Raef Lafrentz for Antoine and Tony Delk and a future pick (which became Delonte West).  He played for the Celtics that season and actually averaged 12 ppg on that disastrous 2004 team, which was crushed by the Pacers in the first round (one of the low moments of me being a C's fan- that series was sickening to watch).  The following season, after having Ricky Davis in the fold along with Pierce, Gary Payton and Antoine Walker, Danny wisely traded him to Cleveland for a first round pick.  At the time it wasn't the wisest decision but when Cleveland in turn traded him to Milwaukee the following season for a 2nd round pick, you knew Ainge had made the right move.

Was Jiri a step slow for the NBA?  Nah.  Did he fit in?  Nah.  He's played overseas a lot since leaving the Celtics.  

He had a website here.  You can follow him on twitter here:  

I remember being out in Long Island right around the same time he was on the Celtics.  I was at Jones Beach and I saw someone had a green "Celtics 44" jersey.  I needed to get a closer look- I mean what are the odds someone had a Jiri Welsch jersey on in Long Island?!  As I got closer I presumed it would be Danny Ainge.  Surprisingly enough when the guy turned his back, it was for Pete Maravich.  Yet another guy whose shoes Jiri couldn't polish.

For a list of all the "What the Hell Happened To" Series please click here.    

tb727 11/29/2009 11:10:00 PM Edit
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11 Responses so far.

  1. Bohemian says:

    I saw Jiri at a game in my town between Unicaja and Fuenlabrada in Spain. I was kind of shocked to see him leave the league so fastly, cause he can play...

  2. Funny you posted this, I was just talking in the chat yesterday about how you should do one on Jiri. Good article.

  3. tb727 says:

    I know I read it lol

  4. JR says:

    Did you read our shout out too? There might have been a sarcastic joke in there as well. :)

    I say we bring Jiri back, and then at the deadline while Ferry sweats the Cavs losing Lebron if he doesn't acquire another shooter, we trade him there again for another first. ;)

  5. tb727 says:

    Yeah everyone's always cracking on me here- my negativity in my headlines, etc. Whatever I take it in stride.

  6. JR says:

    TB, that was kind of negative how you said everyone's cracking on you. ;)

  7. JR says:

    Does Jiri look more like James Bond, Zoolander, or Austin Powers in the last pic?

  8. tb727 says:

    He can't be Zoolander since that's already Wally Sczerbiak lol

  9. Jenda says:

    Come on. He's just the second czech player to play in NBA. Give Czech republic a chance and soon enough... blahblah, if I wasn't lazy... blahblah, I'll be forced to write an article about czech players the way I think Bohemian did about spanish. lol
    Anyway, normally I wouldn't ask but this time I suppose tb may know the answer. Who was the first czech player ever to play in the NBA? (little hint: he played in Charlotte Hornets, Denver and Seattle, plus if he ever played in green his name would be right under Welsch (OK, not so little))

  10. tb727 says:

    George Zidek from UCLA :)

  11. Jenda says:

    I knew you'd know. :D

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