An interview with ex-Celtic Darren Daye

Freelance writers around the world remember a time when they convinced themselves that their self-made blog was the beginning of something huge. “Within months of starting this thing, it’s not merely going to be a platform on which I exercise my writing muscles, it’s going to be a journalistic juggernaut,” we tell ourselves.

Alas, you stumble across more enticing opportunities and the content on your personal page stagnates before it ever really got started. A determined few are rewarded for their perseverance, whilst thousands leave their material behind, to spend eternity in online obscurity.

Last year, I was afforded my first opportunity to speak to a former NBA player for my blog. Although the conversation was fascinating, virtually nobody read it. Now that I find myself writing for a website that has a significant and appropriate readership, I thought I’d share some of my interview with former Celtics forward Darren Daye.

Daye entered the NBA in 1983, after spending two years of his college career at UCLA under coaching behemoth Larry Brown. He spent time with the Washington Bullets and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls before arriving in Boston in 1986, to team up with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton and Robert Parish.

The team that he had joined are now widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. Daye told me that, in terms of style, he can see major similarities between the 86-87 Celtics and some of the great teams of the modern era:
“Well, Golden State are displaying such great passing ability right now, which was also mastered by some of the great San Antonio teams,” Daye stated. “Passing can be such a weapon and those teams have recognised that in a similar way that the ‘80s Celtics teams also did. San Antonio have a way of shredding teams apart with their passing ability and that’s great to watch.”

Unsurprisingly, the player that impressed Daye the most during his time wearing green was Bird, mainly due to his ruthlessness. He recalled a well-documented exchange between Bird and Xavier McDaniel, which he was watching from the side of the court:

“I remember the famous incident in Seattle, when Larry was being guarded by McDaniel. He told Xavier where and when he was going to get the ball for a game winner. Sure enough, he got the ball exactly where he said, one bounce, jump-shot and we won the game.”

It’s that kind of unwavering self-belief that makes great players legendary. Daye benefitted greatly from being surrounded by that Boston swagger, as he took what he learned in the NBA and turned into a whole lot of success overseas:

“Larry and Kevin McHale had an extreme amount of confidence, which you have to have to fully succeed as a basketball player. Some people just have it and some don’t. You really learn how to win when you’re around those guys.

“I was able to win championships in Italy and I can attribute some of my success overseas to playing with so many great players in the NBA.”

Now at 55, Daye can reflect on a successful basketball career. He played with some of the greatest players ever to play, was picked up by some world class organizations, took the opportunity to see various parts of the world and won silverware. He always has and always will remember his time in Boston fondly.

You can read the full interiew with Darren Daye here.
Follow Josh Coyne on Twitter at @poundcoyne
Image Credit: SI/Manny Millan