BOSTON – The 2019 NBA pre-season is already underway and the Boston Celtics have already played one game of their slated four-game set. On Sunday, they faced the Charlotte Hornets at home after a wild off-season saw the Hornets part ways with Kemba Walker and the Celtics part ways with Terry Rozier. Of course, Rozier ended up in Charlotte and Walker became a Celtic, but that's beside the point. The Celtics prevailed by a narrow 107-106 margin and yet, the win was not the most important part of the game.
Tacko Mania has descended upon Boston.
The 7'7" Tacko Fall made a name for himself at the University of Central Florida thanks to the surprising fact that his tall, lanky figure was not an impediment to his basketball ability. Playing an excellent game in March Madness against Duke's Zion Williamson, Tacko immediately became a college basketball favorite, even though many NBA teams were down on him when the draft rolled around.
Not the Celtics, though. Fall, who will likely end up as the tallest player in NBA history soon, went undrafted, but the Celtics still liked what they saw in him and they signed him to a contract that enabled him to play in Summer League. There, he impressed and the fans were clamoring for Fall to stay in Boston. At the end of July, he was officially signed by the Celtics, but even that rabid mania is nothing compared to the response from Sunday's pre-season game.
Fall did not play much, but when he did check into the game, the TD Garden erupted as fans cheered, including those who were dressed in taco costumes. The roof was about to be blown off the building when fans got even louder than they do for playoff games after Fall grabbed a rebound and immediately slammed home a put-back dunk and then later exhibited multiple dominant blocks against opponents. Even Kevin Durant took notice as he tweeted his confusion as to why anyone would try to put a layup over Fall.
According to NBC Sports Boston, ratings for the Celtics game spiked by fifty-four percent when Tacko checked into the game. If he does not end up with a roster spot by the start of the regular season, there's a good chance that Celtics fans would riot.
The official tip-off of the 2019-20 Boston Celtics season is on Wednesday, October 23 on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. It's safe to say that, even in Philly, the fans would go nuts if Tacko Fall strode out onto the court.
Image via Flickr / elisfkc