Celtics send off Law­son with emo­tional trib­ute

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Scott Glee­son

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.

Law­son

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