‘Joe is a bucket’, Celtics accept man – The Athletic

Joe Johnson thought about it when he heard the Celtics wanted to sign him. He thought about it on his flight to Boston. He thought about it intermittently throughout his first day of the NBA game since 2018.

Rather, Johnson’s almost lost career had returned to the beginning. At 40, two decades after the Celtics drafted him, he was given another chance to play for the franchise. And not just that, but another chance in the NBA in general. He hadn’t made a regular-season roster since the 2017-18 campaign, which he ended with the Rockets.

Returning to Boston, where it all began, seemed surreal.

“I’ve been thinking about it since yesterday,” Johnson said. “It was 20 years ago.”

Twenty years have passed to cheers on Wednesday evening. Two decades have entered Johnson’s unforgettable moment. In the Celtics’ final possession in a 111-101 win, he threw a pass to the big man Bruno Fernando, then recovered the ball. The crowd desperately wanted Johnson to shoot the ball. The building buzzed as soon as it touched it. Johnson dribbled back and forth one way around a screen, then the other, creating space for a jump like he has done so many times in his life.

“If I put them on this hip, they’re over, they’re dead,” Johnson told Ime Udoka.

But stay? Yes again. The shot came in, punctuating one of the most unlikely reunions in Celtics history, closing a night Johnson intends to hold onto forever. Even a day earlier, the scene would not have seemed possible.

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