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The concept of ‘ubuntu’ in NBA circles started with the Boston Celtics last title team. A team-oriented concept derived from a Nguni Bantu term meaning ‘humanity,’ it is sometimes translated to mean “I am because we are.” That ought to make its application to a team setting evident.
In terms of the 2008 title team, it has become something canonical, representative of what made that Celtics squad so great — complete with its own lore and origin story. That story was re-told by former Celtic champion center Kendrick Perkins on the new team-produced podcast ‘View From the Rafters: Behind the Scenes with the Boston Celtics.”
Now a media personality and co-host of the Celtics’ new podcast, Perkins regaled its audience with the story of how ‘ubuntu’ became part of Boston lore.
"When Doc brought it up, we were like, 'Doc, what are you talking about?'," explained Perkins. "He made all the rookies go and research the word ubuntu, right? It was Big Baby (Glen Davis), I think it was -- Big Baby is the only one I remember, and that's bad, sorry about that," he added.
"We had to go figure it out. Not us, the rookies. Seriously, it was like a homework assignment. They had to go and really come back with some paperwork and read to us what it was about. 'I only can be better if (my teammate) is better ... that's the only way I can be better.'"
Perkins gave his rough approximation of how ubuntu functions, at least as it was applied in the context of the 2007-08 Celtics. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1381976329206304776?s=20
"So, basically, you had to want success for others," Perkins elaborated, "that we needed each other to get the job done."
"And then he preached it to us, basically saying it was all-in, right? (An) all-in method; we were like togetherness, no hidden agenda. I got your back, we may fall out at times, but we've got each other's back. We didn't have hidden agendas for us, individual goals."
"We knew everything we were trying to accomplish was greater than one individual," he finished. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1381925151558746120?s=20
And while the latter years of this iteration of the Celtics may not have ended on quite the same note, for a time it was emblematic of an era of Boston basketball so many will never forget. It's a philosophy that transcends the sport in truth -- and one the world could use more of in these days, perhaps more than ever. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=48966,48956,48952,48936] [listicle id=48974]