Gina Tucker has a large wooden bookshelf at her home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, that displays countless trophies and awards that were won by her son, Celtics guard Terry Rozier. And it is possible that more of them are for football than for basketball. Rozier did not play in college or even in high school. But prior to that, the sport consumed him.
“I always brag about my football skills,” he said, “so I’ve got to show that.”
And he did demonstrate his football skills in the recent Celtics-versus-Pacers contest. Boston trailed Indiana by one point in the final seconds of the game, and T-Ro got to relive his football days as a youngster (per The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach):
The Celtics trailed the Pacers by 1 point with 9.3 seconds left, and Rozier sensed opportunity. Indiana was inbounding the ball from the sideline, and Rozier was instructed to serve as a kind of rover. As he walked onto the floor after the timeout, he told his teammates: “Let’s play some football.”
Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart trapped Cory Joseph on the inbounds pass and unsuccessfully attempted to foul him. Joseph passed the ball to Bojan Bogdanovic, who stood near the sideline at midcourt. As Celtics guard Shane Larkin swooped over, Bogdanovic threw a jump pass toward Victor Oladipo, who was about 20 feet away, near center court.
Rozier was at the foul line when Bogdanovic released the ball, but he still blitzed the play like a defensive back, deflected the pass, chased down the loose ball, and soared in for a dunk that sent Boston to an improbable 112-111 win.
“Terry was reminiscing about his football games getting that steal,” Irving said later.
So, a stellar defensive back-type play by an up-and-coming NBA player with great anticipation and athleticism. I am happy that T-Ro chose basketball over football and ended up in the NBA instead of the NFL. "Rozier stole the ball! It's all over!" I can almost hear the late Johnny Most from the beyond.
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Top photo courtesy of Gina Tucker
Bottom photo via Andy Lyons/Getty Images