As the confetti fell around the TD Garden, Brad Stevens could not help but break into a smile.

After more than a decade of trying and (by the Boston Celtics’ lofty standards) failing, Steven’s efforts have bore fruit. The Celtics finally got their 18th NBA championship, ending a more than 15-year title drought that had been nagging everyone within the state of Massachusetts.

It was a long process for Boston, but such was expected when you’re building from the ground up. Other teams chased stars and hastily put together “super teams”, but the Celtics built around their young guns in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, players they acquired through the NBA Draft. The organic approach naturally took time and there were some hits and misses. But it’s in these moments where you have to stick to your guns.

Apart from Tatum and Brown, Stevens was a constant through it all. He entered his first season with Boston in 2013 as the league’s youngest head coach at that time with high expectations, but that came with the understanding that the success would come down the road. With patience, there was progress that was evident. After missing the postseason in his first year, Stevens led the Celtics to seven consecutive playoffs appearances, with an Eastern Conference Finals appearance for Boston materializing during Tatum’s rookie year. 


Of course, former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge deserves some credit with how he turned a once aging roster into one primed for a title. Ainge hired Stevens for this iteration of the Celtics he envisioned and Stevens put his own twist to it when Ainge stepped down and promoted him to the President of Basketball Operations role.

Stevens must’ve taken notes from Ainge, as his savvy deals also proved critical to Boston’s title run. Acquiring Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday drew some flak early on, but props to Stevens for sticking to what he felt was the right way to go to end the title drought.

Beyond his deal making, though, Stevens was brave enough to make the tough decisions. Stevens sent away long-time Celtic Marcus Smart, who had been with the organization nearly as long as he had, to get Porzingis, who at the time was known more for his injuries and inconsistency rather than true production. The NBA is a business, but it doesn’t mean there’s no human side to it. This move was arguably as tough as the one that sent DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs in 2019, but we all know how that fared for the Toronto Raptors in the end.

Tom Brady, arguably New England’s greatest athlete of all time, once said that his favorite championship is the next one. That’s the kind of mentality you’d want to see from a storied franchise like the Boston Celtics and with Brad Stevens at the helm, you may expect no less given his body of work.