Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers get a great view of one of Leon Powe’s dunks in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)
"Pow? Pow?". After The Boston Celtics had just defeated his Lakers team in game 2 of the 2008 NBA finals, Coach Phil Jackson was ridiculing and belittling Leon Powe (pronounced Poe), the Boston backup that had so much to do with the Celts win. The mispronunciation was intentional and so was the question-like inflection. In effect, Jackson was saying, "Who the hell is this guy to play like that against my team?" Allow me to introduce you to him, Phile- or is it Phil: (via Wikipedia):

Leon Powe, a second year bench player, scored 21 points on 6–7 shooting from the field and 9–13 from the line in 15 minutes of play, including back-to-back dunks in the last minute of the 3rd quarter. Over the course of the game, Leon Powe shot 13 free throws while the Lakers shot 10.

Leon is a classic case of a child growing up under terrible circumstances who went on to become a fine, successful adult. Here is a brief synopsis from Wikipedia:

Powe grew up in Oakland, California. His father left him when he was two years old. When he was seven years old, the family's house burned down and they were homeless for years. They moved more than twenty times within six years. He and his siblings were taken away from their mother by the state of California and put into foster care. Powe's mother died four days before he played in the state championship.

Leon tore his ACL during game two of the first-round series against the Chicago Bulls in 2009 and was signed that summer in free agency by the Cleveland Cavaliers. I understood why Danny Ainge did not actively pursue him, but I always regretted the fact that he was not wanted. Powe's career headed downhill after that, but the regret over Leon's departure was alleviated in 2014 when Danny brought Leon back to the team.

So Leon Powe is still with the Boston Celtics as of this season, and I thank Ainge for bringing him back. This is a special individual working for a wonderful franchise. Here is what former Celtics GM Chris Wallace thought of Powe (per ESPN's Chris Sheridan):

"He is one of my all-time favorite players. He comes in every day with an upbeat, cheerful attitude, no sense of moodiness, no sense of entitlement..."

Yes, that sounds like Leon Powe to me. The man that was belittled by the pseudo-intellectual Zen Master, Phil Jackson, after Leon had played the game of his life. We will end with a little bit of gentle revenge in the form of a video cartoon. And thanks to Danny for bringing Leon back to us.

Video via Scrumptious Soda

Tom Lane 10/03/2017 08:25:00 AM Edit
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