If the Boston Celtics were trying to get Kevin Durant's attention by bringing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to their meeting in the Hamptons earlier this month, it certainly seemed to work.
Talking with reporters after USA Basketball opened its pre-Olympic training camp in Las Vegas on Monday, Durant admitted Brady's presence resonated during Boston's sales pitch.
"I was ready to just say, ‘OK, let’s go,'" said Durant, suggesting Brady's presence might have instantly made the Celtics an attractive option. "Just seeing someone so successful at his craft. He's a great ambassador for the game of football and the city of Boston. It's great to be in the presence of such greatness. But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t let that distract me."
Asked what else made Boston an intriguing destination, Durant said, "I just liked the way they play. I liked their coach [Brad Stevens]. I thought they had some good people."
The Celtics came back from their meeting with Durant encouraged by how well their pitch seemingly went and felt Brady's presence helped their cause. Durant ultimately elected to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
"I would say [Brady's presence] was very effective. It was very compelling," Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said earlier this month during an appearance on Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub. "It was, ‘Look, this is what it’s like to win in Boston, this is what it’s like to play in Boston. You’ll look great in green. This is a great place to raise a family. I’m settling here with my family after my playing days are done, and you’re going to love it in Boston and I hope you come.'"
Added Grousbeck: "As I recall, Tom led our delegation into the house and Kevin met us all at the door. And I think Tom was right up front. And I think Kevin said, ‘Wow, this is big.’ That’s as I recall it. He wasn’t looking at me when he said that. I think it was great to have Tom there, only a plus, and we really appreciate him taking time out of his schedule for the Celtics."
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge came up with the idea to bring Brady as part of Boston's recruiting squad, which also included Stevens, co-owners Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, and players Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.
"I just thought it would be a good idea," Ainge said of Brady. "We would like to get a lot of guys to come, but Tom was available. I reached out to him and he thought about it for a day and said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ And, in a very short turnaround, he wanted to go. He had met KD one time before. I told him how much of a fan KD was of his. It was a fun time for all of us to have Tom down there with us."
Celtics second-year guard R.J. Hunter wasn't part of Boston's traveling party while prepping for summer league, but said the Celtics' players on the trip came back raving about Brady's presence.
"All I heard was their experience with Tom Brady, so I didn’t really get a lot about the [Durant] meeting," Hunter said. "[The Celtics players were] like, ‘Yeah, the meeting was cool, but Tom, bro -- it was crazy.'"
Added Hunter: "They all posted Instagrams [with Brady]. I was kind of jealous. I wanted one. [Brady] had the button-up and everything. It was cool, man. That would have been huge for my Instagram."
Information from ESPN's Ramona Shelburne was used in this report.