Celtics send off Lawson with emotional tribute
Kara Lawson was hired for her dream job last week when Duke made her its next women’s basketball coach. The career move was a no-brainer, but it didn’t make her departure from her current team – the NBA’s Celtics – any easier. While Lawson was on the Boston staff for just one season as an assistant to Brad Stevens, her impact on the team was undoubtedly felt. Players did thank and celebrate Lawson by surprising her by wearing Blue Devils women’s basketball T-shirts. “It’s been an emotional few days for me,” Lawson wrote Tuesday over social media. “And, while I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity in front of me at Duke University, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the team I’m leaving behind. These men have changed my life. “I have loved my time with the Boston Celtics. Our players are authentic, intelligent, creative and passionate men. They motivated me each day to be my best for them. They surprised me last night by all wearing @DukeWBB T-shirts in an incredible show of support before I head to Durham. I cried. They’d probably laugh & tell you I’ve cried a lot these last few days but I will tell you having relationships with players that move you to those kinds of emotions is the most meaningful pursuit one can have as a coach. I love them and I will miss them.” The 39-year-old Lawson was the first female assistant coach in Celtics history and was one of 11 female assistants in the NBA. Lawson became the first Black head coach in the college basketball program’s history and joins a tradition-rich athletic culture headed by men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Hall of Famer who has led Duke to five national championships. Lawson’s pedigree for the job was top of the line, having played for Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee before enjoying a 13-year WNBA career that included a championship in 2005 and gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After a brief stint in the media following her retirement, Lawson began coaching last summer with the Celtics as an assistant and has consistently garnered praise from Stevens and Celtics players.