Celtics rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger discuss their shoes, golf game and the 76ers.
Jared Sullinger shouldn’t be wearing this jersey, and Fab Melo shouldn’t be wearing those shoes.
That was my first thought last week, when I joined the rookies in Tarrytown, NY, during the 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot, where players were photographed for their first official Panini trading cards.
Of course, Jared Sullinger is a Boston Celtic, is wearing a green jersey for these photos. And though he would have probably preferred being drafted higher than No. 21, preferred not being labelled as a medical liability, Sullinger is ecstatic at being a member of the Celtics organization.
As for the Brazilian Melo, after facing eligibility issues during Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament run, the 7-0 center is still swimming in delight after going No. 22 in the Draft. Still, he shouldn’t have Air Jordan Concord XIs on today. But alas, he forgot to bring kicks and had to borrow from his friendly teammate, Sullinger, who is also wearing Concords.
Aside from posing for dope and funny flicks for Panini, the two rookies found time to speak with SLAM about some notable topics.
SLAM: So what have you been up to this summer?
Fab Melo: Since Summer League I went to Brazil, spent some time with my family. Now I came back for the RTP, and I’m getting back to work.
SLAM: What did you think about the RTP program?
FM: It was a good experience, learning from pros who went through a lot of things we’re going to go through. So, it was good.
SLAM: Is there any one message you’re going to take home with you?
FM: Yeah. One thing they said on the first day was, ‘Choice, decisions, and consequences.’ That’s the thing I will take home.
SLAM: So what are you looking forward to this coming season?
FM: Just learning from the veteran team that I have. I have a great coaching staff, a great team, so I want to learn from all of them.
SLAM: Have they told you any specific things they want you to work on?
FM: They just want me to run up and down the court, help out the team on defense, and the offense will flow with time.
SLAM: I see you’re wearing a nice pair of sneakers. Are you into sneakers?
SLAM: How’d you end up with these sneakers on today?
FM: Actually, I didn’t bring any shoes, so I had to borrow from my teammate Jared [Sullinger].
SLAM: I was gonna say, it’s a big coincidence the two of you are wearing the same pair.
SLAM: So I doubt you remember, but we actually met in Philly at Game 6 of the Celtics-Sixers Playoff series. Could you have imagined at that moment a few months ago that you’d end up being a Celtic?
Jared Sullinger: Nah. You know what’s funny? I was rooting for the 76ers because ET (Evan Turner) is my man. So, I wanted them to win. Then [after the Draft] I realized, I’m a Celtic now, wow.
SLAM: I remember after that game you met Doc Rivers outside the locker room and he just said to keep working or whatever. It’s crazy that he’s your coach now.
JS: Yeah, I know (laughs). Coach Rivers, at the Final Four [in New Orleans], told my father, ‘I’m gonna get your son.’ I didn’t think I was gonna fall that far. I was like, ‘Yo, pops, I’m not going 21.’ And then that medical red flag stuff came out, all this stuff came out, and next thing you know I fell to 21. I’m like, ‘Pops, I guess I did fall to 21,’ so I was kind of in shock.
SLAM: So what’s the summer been like for you since you guys left Orlando?
JS: It’s been fun. I’ve been trying to get in better shape, and get ready for the season.
SLAM: Is there anything specific the Celtics wanted you to work on?
JS: Not really. Just being in better shape.
SLAM: You been working in Boston or Columbus or where?
JS: I’ve been in Columbus.
SLAM: I know it’s been a crazy summer, lot of work, lot of flying around. But what have you been doing in your downtime?
JS: A lot of [NBA] 2K12. Getting my game up, getting my game right for 2K13.
SLAM: What are your other hobbies off the court?
JS: I like to golf.
SLAM: How long you been doing that for?
JS: For a couple.
SLAM: Nicest in your family?
JS: I suck (laughs). I’m not the nicest. I suck.