Celtics guard Avery Bradley is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In this installment, he talks about his home-state Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, discusses playing with Rajon Rondo again and gives a Valentine's Day recommendation. (--As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for winning the Super Bowl. As you might know, I'm from the state of Washington. I grew up a Seahawks fan. I watched the game from my house. I've been to two Seahawks games, and it is crazy loud like everyone says it is.
My favorite Seahawks player is Earl Thomas. We went to college together and were drafted the same year. He's like a bro to me. He's also the one that gave me tickets to those two games I went to. He's a really good guy. More than anything that makes me respect him is he has worked for everything he has. He wasn't always the best, but he continued to get better every single year. I texted with him after they won the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco, and you better believe he'll be hearing from me now to congratulate him on being a champion.
I'm also a big Richard Sherman fan, and I'm glad even though he got hurt he was able to celebrate the win, but I'm an even bigger fan of Marshawn Lynch. I love Marshawn Lynch. I don't care what anybody says about him, I think he seems like a good dude. He seems like a good person.
I was so hoping Seattle would win and go out there and play a complete game, which is exactly what it did. I would have been really upset if Denver had won. I'm not a Peyton Manning fan. I never have been.
There's a mystery going on in this locker room. I wore my Seahawks hat to Sunday's game, and someone put masking tape over the logo and wrote Broncos on the tape. I haven't found out who the culprit is yet. Everybody denied it.
So congrats again to the Seahawks, but I guess I should talk some basketball now. It feels good to be back playing on the court after hurting my ankle. I still feel a little bit of pain, but I'm happy to be back out there on the floor. During that Miami Heat game we had in January, I rolled it pretty badly. It's a bone bruise. Luckily, I rolled my right ankle and not my left one, which I've had surgery on before.
If there was a silver lining to any of this, it's that the time off did allow my right hand, which had been sore, to heal. Last week, my hand was big time swollen. I iced it every day. I think I had about eight days off, so I was able to ice it and take care of not only my ankle, but also my hand.
It's really hard to not play, especially when we were going through a rough patch of games. I know it was hard for Rondo. I know he had a hard time watching us every single night and not being able to contribute. Especially when you see little parts of the game that we can improve in and you're not out there on the court to say something about it. How I look at it is everything happens for a reason. I feel like the injury and me coming back helps our team be even stronger and be on the same page.
I was at the games I missed and watched them all. I'd come into the locker room and watch them in there. I wasn't watching for anything in particular but more overall. I'd try to encourage my teammates. If there was something that I saw, I was happy to tell them about it during halftime to help them out. That's really how I watched the game, to look for anything I could see to help our team out. For example, I noticed our energy. Sometimes, we got nonchalant and played like we're just the best team in the NBA; we should never play like that. We should never take possessions off. I feel like we play like that a lot. Sometimes, you have to remind one another that we can't be a team like that.
As we near the end of the first half to the season, what I want to work on myself is really every part of my game. More than anything on the defensive end, I want to continue to improve as a team defensive player. That's my main focus because I want our team to be one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.
I have one word to describe playing with Rondo again on Sunday: amazing. I absolutely love playing with him. To have him on the court gives me so much confidence. I'm not sure if he can say the same thing, but it makes me feel a lot more comfortable out there, honestly.
As for him officially being named our captain, it wasn't a surprise like it was to everyone else when it was announced. I knew. Besides, he's been the captain since I've been here, in my opinion. To me, it's always been him, KG [Kevin Garnett] and Paul [Pierce]. In my eyes, those three have always been the captains. Now that KG and Paul have left, that leaves Rondo as our remaining captain. He leads by example and he's vocal, and that's what makes him amazing. He learned from those older guys who were here before him.
As you know, KG and Paul had their first game back here in Boston. The crowd reaction to them was amazing. I watched a little bit of the montages for them, and I thought for sure Paul would cry, but he didn't. I just think it was amazing that the fans showed them that much love. Even [Big] Baby [Glen Davis] on Sunday, you heard the fans go crazy when they called his name.
We added some new faces in our locker room with Jerryd Bayless, Joel Anthony and Chris Johnson, and others got traded like Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks. It's tough to say goodbye to guys, especially your good friends, but we know this is part of the business. So all you can do is wish them the best and hope they do well. The trade deadline comes up this month. Ever since I've been here, I don't think I've ever stressed about the trade deadline. I just concentrate on winning games.
Something that was nice to see was Sully [Jared Sullinger] and Kelly [Olynyk] be named to the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. I've seen from them a lot of improvement from both ends of the floor. I was happy they were both named. That's a huge accomplishment. I know they'll do well in that game.
You know I always like to end these diaries with a recommendation. This time, I'll do one for Valentine's Day since that's coming up soon. My recommendation for the perfect gift for your significant other is to take him or her on a trip. He or she will love it, and it will be a great gift. A romantic date would be to go to a beach, maybe Puerto Rico, have a nice dinner on the beach with some music playing. That's very romantic. For my girlfriend, that was the most romantic thing I ever did was taking her on a trip. We walked everywhere and just enjoyed each other's company.