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Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla reveals he has a sacred religious item made from the old Boston Garden
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla reveals he has a sacred religious item made from the old Boston Garden

The coach has been seen subtly praying before games in the empty TD Garden arena.

Boston Celtics Coach Joe Mazzulla said that he has a religious artifact made from parts of the iconic Boston Garden that used to host the team.

Mazzulla was fresh off a 2024 NBA Finals victory over the Dallas Mavericks when he spoke to Zach Lowe on his ESPN podcast.

Lowe said that he saw Mazzulla walking around before the game, and he took something out of his pocket. The reporter remembered that Mazzulla showed it to him and thought it was a cool story, then asked if the coach could share it with the audience.

"My assistant Cara also works for the team, she knows what's important to me in my faith," Mazzulla recalled.

The coach has not been shy about expressing his religion, wearing a shirt during the NBA Finals celebration that said, "But first ... let me thank God."

He also famously said in a documentary that if his team won, he would be "flying to Jerusalem," adding that he would walk "from Jericho to Jerusalem."

'I carry those with me everywhere I go and then I bring them out for home games.'

Mazzulla told host Lowe that his assistant managed to get some of the old parquet flooring from the historic Boston Garden, which hosted the Celtics from 1928-1997, including teams that featured the legendary Larry Bird. The flooring was then turned into religious beads.

"She got the old parquet from the Garden and made rosary beads out of it. So every day I get to the Garden, I do my prayer circle, and I use those rosary [beads]," the coach said on "The Lowe Post."

It has been widely reported that one of Mazzulla's pregame rituals has been to walk around the empty arena (now the TD Garden) with his rosary beads in hand.

"Obviously, there's a religious component there, but it's made from the wood and just having that with you, knowing what the people have gone through before as coaches, players, front office, everybody involved ... it was just a sense of connectivity to the Celtic history and a sense of connection with my faith," Mazzulla continued.

"I carry those with me everywhere I go and then I bring them out for home games, so I'm really grateful for that gift."

Mazzulla's track record has included him rejecting popular political narratives that are often pushed into pro sports through the media.

This was apparent when Vincent Goodwill, a senior reporter for Yahoo Sports, asked a racially loaded question before Game 2 of the NBA Finals:

"For the first time since 1975, this is the NBA Finals where you have two black coaches. Given the plight, sometimes, of black head coaches in the NBA, do you think this is a significant moment, do you take pride in this, how do you view this, or do you not see this at all?"

Mazzulla responded by asking, "I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches?"

The reporter took issue with Mazzulla declining his premise and followed up his question with a lengthy article on the subject.

The article was titled, "Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla's unwillingness to discuss race a complicated issue."

In it, he stated that "race is one of the defining issues in this country, and it's not easy to talk about, but when one avoids it, it adds fuel to an already complicated fire."

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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