Celtics' Jae Crowder is a crowd pleaser

Boston up by 5, Boston down by 15 – the scoreboard scenarios have varied quite frequently over the course of the Boston Celtics season thus far but what’s remained consistent is the energy and commitment of a player like Jae Crowder. Or should I say, Joe Chowder? Yep, the nickname is sticking and he’s embracing it.

Via Steve Bulpett at the Boston Herald, Crowder explained:

“Yeah, that’s me. You know it. I get that a lot. Damn near everybody. I think it’s a catchy thing for New England and for Boston. I hear it from everybody, even my coaches and teammates. It’s cool.”

I could stop writing now. He’s cool with a seafood nickname. Celtic–for-life, in my book. Seriously, what’s not to love? His enthusiasm, humble nature and versatility as a player are hard to dismiss and his competitive drive is more than obvious.

Crowder’s been using the hashtag #playoffpush since February 17th. That’s 7 weeks of tweeting and ‘gramming about working towards a playoff spot. For a newcomer on a team with a number of unknowns, that’s a welcomed mentality. Why not his team in the playoffs? Why not talk about it happening? If it’s happening, he’s proven to be one of the guys executing it.

When asked by Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com, if he really felt the playoffs were a plausible possibility since his arrival in Boston, Crowder said:

"There was a lot of basketball to be played, a lot of games to be played, so of course I did believe it was a goal. It was something we felt like we could achieve, something we could work towards each and every day, to try to get better as a team, mesh together, and try to reach the goal."

This summer, Crowder will be a restricted free agent, having produced some pretty nice numbers and memorable contributions in a green jersey this season. In all likelihood, the Celtics will look to keep Crowder and if not, I can see the (maybe only obvious to me) hashtags now → #keepcrowder, #wewantchowder, #morechowder. But don’t ask Jae, if he thinks he’ll stay. Right now the playoffs are heavy on his mind.

In his aforementioned conversation with Forsberg, Crowder reiterated his goals:

“No. I just want to make the playoffs. And once you make the playoffs, everything will take care of itself. I’m not worried about it. Because my goal is to make the playoffs and we are right here where we want to be. As a player, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the playoffs, get back to the playoffs because I was there last year and know it’s a different type of basketball. I’m just focused on that.”

Early Wednesday, Crowder commented on his recent ankle injury – one that Brad Stevens rested him for at practice on Monday but indicated wouldn’t hold him back from the game against Detroit.

If you can’t like a guy who “felt he had to play” when injured then I don’t know what else to say. And above that, he’s honest about it. ‘Yep, I probably should have sat out but I wanted to help my team win that game because well, #playoffpush’

Crowder commonly shares on social media about team wins, painful losses and an often motivational message. His comments might or might not sometimes be paired with a shout-out to Celtics’ champion, Kevin Garnett. I imagine, even if Crowder wasn’t impressing in a number of other departments, his respect for Boston (probably always) fan favorite, KG might very well be enough to win most Celtic faithfuls over.

So, besides the obvious similarity – from a fan’s perspective – in regards to their intensity out on the floor, what motivated Crowder to show his affinity for ex-Celtics’ big man?

As reported by Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com:

“He’s one of my favorite players, even before I got to the NBA. I followed him before he became a Celtic. When he got here, to see the process of him winning the championship and what it took for them to come together as a team, I follow him and I admire his passion for the game and what he’s brought to the game, and what he’s done for the game of basketball. I just always loved KG.”

Since joining the Celtics in December – at the time, a team only halfway through almost a dozen trades – Crowder has quickly earned his own right as a fan favorite whether courtside, on the parquet or in the supermarket.

Also, from Bulpett at Boston Herald:

“I go to Shaw’s by my house, and I just get feedback from everybody. It happened really quick and I appreciate it. I tell them I’m going to keep fighting, and they tell me they’re behind us. That’s all we can ask for.”

Crowder openly appreciates and engages with the fans. Safe to say they appreciate you, too, Jae – err, Joe.

Count me in! #PlayoffPush

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America

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