BOSTON — The man faces his former NBA team with the same fanfare that many would describe Brandon Bass himself.
He remains under the radar with both his personality, game and presence. It appears he wants it that way. But with all the focus on Kobe Bryant playing his last game on Wednesday at the Garden, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has credited Bass role in rebuilding the Celtics during his four years here (2011-2015).
“It’s just my presence being around and the way I go about things and the way I gave myself up for the team in different ways and my work ethic and how I carry myself,” Bass said following morning shootaround on Wednesday at the Garden. “But I can’t say I have done so much for the Celtics. The Celtics have done so much for me. I’m grateful for the city of Boston and the fans and the organization. The Celtics have been awesome to me.”
Bass played an evolving role with the Celtics as a starter and reserve both for contending and rebuilding teams. In 2014, Bass won 2014 Red Auerbach award as a player who best represents what it means to be a Celtic.
Yet, Bass signed a two-year deal worth $6.1 million with the Lakers. Since then, Bass has averaged 5.6 points on 57.7 percent shooting in 16 minutes off the bench.
While he said the Celtics are “doing some great things” after making the NBA playoffs last season as a seventh seed, Bass is playing for the Western Conference’s worst team.
“But it’s been a cool experience,” Bass said. “I feel like my experience here with the Celtics prepared me for my current situation mentally. I’m able to deal with everything a lot better.”
That includes handling a fluctuating role that has entailed Lakers coach Byron Scott playing the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Bass at center despite the vast height difference.
“I can play whatever man. You can put me at point guard. Whatever. I’m the type of guy who will never lay down under no circumstances,” said Bass, who has averaged 7.2 points on 71.4 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in the past five games. “I’ll work twice as hard. I always felt like I had to work twice as hard being undersized, anyway.”
Bass will try to fulfill that same job description against Boston, though it will not come close toward gaining as much attention as whatever reception Bryant receives in his last game here.
“I don’t really have expectations. But I know how the crowd will treat Kobe,” Bass said. “They have a high regard for Kobe. Everywhere we’ve been its crazy. Its’ been the KB tour. It’s cool.”
But as he admitted relishing his return to a city he lived in four years, Bass at least showed gratitude toward the Celtics’ kind words about him.
“It lets you know you’ve been appreciated and its good to hear some things like that,” Bass said. “You try continue to build on that in your career and your life and use it as extra motivation to keep going and inspiring others.”
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