Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

The dynamic Boston Celtics duo: Joe Mazzulla and ‘The Town’

Rachel Choi
Illustration Rachel Choi

When you think of team building and leadership, what movies come to mind? Perhaps “Coach Carter,” “Glory Road,” or even “Pitch Perfect.” But what about the 2010 crime-thriller film “The Town?”

For Boston Celtics Head Coach Joe Mazzulla, it’s important to get team chemistry down to a T. And what better way for Mazzulla to promote teamwork than with “The Town”?

The Celtics’ coaching staff has changed tremendously in the past few years. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens joined the team’s front office after serving as the head coach from 2013 to 2021. His replacement, Ime Udoka, served an unexpectedly brief stint as the head coach. After leading the team to the 2022 NBA Finals, Udoka was suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 season for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a Celtics employee.

Enter Mazzulla.

Previously serving as head assistant coach under Udoka, Mazzulla was named interim head coach on Sept. 22, 2022, nearly a month before the start of the 2022-23 season. On Feb. 16, 2023, Mazzulla was named permanent head coach after leading the team to a league-best 42-17 record entering the All-Star break.

Mazzulla has a stoic and reserved personality. When it comes to talking to the press, he is blunt, brief, and straightforward. Oftentimes, Mazzulla seems bored of answering questions and even frustrated, like when he entered a presser and said, “Do not ask me any Wembanyama questions. I don’t care,” following a game against the San Antonio Spurs

Despite his passive aggression, he brings his love for “The Town” to his pressers to sprinkle light-hearted bits of his personality into his professional life.

Nothing excites Mazzulla quite like “The Town,” a film directed by and starring Boston’s poster child, Ben Affleck. His infatuation with the film has been a topic of discussion since last January when it was revealed that he watches it four times a week. Since he proclaimed his passion for “The Town,” Mazzulla has been using the film as a way to team build and communicate with the media.

Watching “The Town” four times a week is “just a Boston mindset,” said Mazzulla in an interview with NBCSports Boston.

During last post-season Mazzulla even wore a hoodie with a quote from “The Town” that said, “Whose car we gonna take?”

This beloved line from the film has now even become meaningful to the team.

“It’s basically just ride or die for your guys, the guys you’re on the court with, the guys you’re competing with,” former Celtic Malcolm Brogdon said in an interview with NESN.com. “It’s having the mentality: it doesn’t matter what we’re going to get into, we’re going to do it together.”

The running gag doesn’t end there. “The Town” is also an integral part of Mazzulla’s coaching career and media presence. Recently, he ended a press conference by saying, “Before I forget, no one’s ever asked me what my favorite scene from ‘The Town’ was. I know you guys all know that’s my favorite movie but no one’s ever been curious about what my favorite scene is?”

Unprompted, Mazzulla went on to explain his favorite scene.

“My favorite one is Doug MacRay is getting ready to leave town and he skips by the FBI’s car and leaves a nice, well thought-out handwritten note underneath the antennae and then gets out of town. That’s my favorite scene,” Mazzulla said.

The note reads, “Go fuck yourself.”

Context is important. The press conference where he described this scene took place after a 131-133 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The game stirred controversy because of two questionable calls by the officials against the Celtics within the final few seconds. The Last Two Minute Report revealed that the calls were bogus.

Mazzulla describing that scene as his favorite could be interpreted as a statement against the NBA and its officials. Through “The Town,” Mazzulla successfully promotes team building and throws snide remarks.

Mazzulla has proven to be a great fit for the Celtics. The team currently boasts the league’s best record at 34-10, perhaps partly to do with his aggressive “The Town” agenda. When the Celtics raise their 18th banner, they’ll have one of the most Boston-core movies to thank.

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About the Contributor
Rumsha Siddiqui, Sports Editor
Rumsha Siddiqui (she/her) is a journalism major from upstate New York. She currently serves as the Sports Editor and previously served as Staff Writer and Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. Rumsha is passionate about writing about the Boston Celtics and offering commentary and criticism on film, television, and music.

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