Boston Celtics Forward Al Horford Makes Return to Atlanta


Boston Celtics forward Al Horford will return to the place he called home for his first nine seasons in the NBA.

Friday night will be a weird one for Boston Celtics forward Al Horford.  After spending nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, the big man returns to the place he called home prior to signing a max contract with his current team.

Selected third overall in the 2007 NBA draft, Horford helped the Hawks become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.  Their inability not to get over the hump was one of the factors in his decision to sign with Boston this offseason.  He also said he was influenced by the dedication of Celtics fans.  Will that lead to boos when Horford steps on the court?

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Current and past teammates certainly hope not.  As far as Horford’s expectations.  Well, he doesn’t know what kind of reception to expect.

"“I don’t really know what to expect (Friday night),” Horford told  “I still have a lot of friends, a lot of people in Atlanta and with the Hawks organization that I care about and that’s not going to change whether the fans at the game boo me or not.”"

The Celtics will enter the game at 24-15 with hopes of avenging last year’s first-round loss to the Hawks.  As a member of the Hawks at the time, Horford was a reason Atlanta bounced out Boston.  His versatility as a big man showed I that series and was a reason the Celtics went after the big man.  Although not a big time scorer, his winning attitude and professionalism are values the Hawks miss and the Celtics have gained.

"“He was the one that kick started their success,” Former Hawks assistant and Current Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale said.  “He was the beginning of our playoff run.  We got Al Horford in the draft and immediately made the playoffs and that year took Boston to seven games.  He was a big part of why, and he’s continued to live up to that through his career.  He’s the ultimate professional.  He’s a constant worker, a great teammate.  He’s one of those guys you want on your team when you’re trying to win.”"

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Will Hawks fans remember and applaud those contributions, or will they allow the fact that he left the team to sign a four-year, $113 million contract with the Celtics cloud their emotions?  We’ll see Friday night.