Celtics’ Joe Mazzulla Answers Question About Finals Coaches By Saying, ‘I Wonder How Many Are Christian Coaches’

Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was asked if he thinks about how he and Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd are both Black and going head-to-head in the NBA Finals, but Mazzulla had little to offer on that particular topic.Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics, NBA

“I wonder how many of those are Christian coaches,” Mazzulla answered at a press conference ahead of Game 2 in Boston.

He offered no further input on the topic before the press conference moved along and the next question was asked.

Mazzulla and the Celtics won Game 1 going away, cruising to a 107-89 victory. Boston finished with the league’s best record at 64-18 in Mazzulla’s second season as an NBA head coach. He replaced now-Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka, who was suspended and then fired in September 2022 after a reported inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.

Mazzulla has been very open about his faith.

“My faith is just as important as my race, if not more important,” he once told Andscape’s Marc Spears, via Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “In order to reach different people you have to be your whole self, and you can’t put yourself in a box.”

Boston is aiming for its 18th championship, which would give it one more than the cross-country rival Los Angeles Lakers.

This year’s Finals marks the first time since 1975 that the Finals have featured two Black head coaches, as noted by Goodwill. Back then, the Golden State Warriors, coached by Al Attles, swept the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), coached by the late K.C. Jones.

Jones may have gotten beat that year, but later became the head coach of the Larry Bird-led Celtics to make five Finals appearances and win three championships.

Both were former NBA guards, and the same goes for Kidd. (Attles, now 87, was known as “The Destroyer” as a player and spent all 11 seasons with the Warriors, starting when they were still located in Philadelphia. Jones is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.)

Kidd won a championship as a player with the Mavs in 2011.

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