The people wanted Tacko Fall. His coach gave in – but not before making the crowd work for it.
With the Boston Celtics blowing out the Detroit Pistons in the fourth quarter Friday night at home, the crowd pleaded for Fall, an undrafted rookie who is nevertheless a fan obsession.
Fall is among the planet’s tallest humans at 7 feet, 5 inches, and his manner and effortless dunks have had crowds chanting for him – though he’d played only one NBA game.
A bench player can’t have been top of mind for coach Brad Stevens, but he heard the fans. He nodded and let the noise build. Then, he twirled his hand for more – a lighthearted moment caught on video and then posted by Celtics digital director Marc D’Amico.
The crowd roared, and Stevens let Fall into the game.
It made for a memorable regular-season home debut. Fall had an easy dunk off a pick and roll, and a hook shot from a post move, finishing with five points, two rebounds, two turnovers and a block in just over four minutes.
Fall normally plays for the Maine Red Claws in the NBA’s developmental G League, where he’s averaged 13.6 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game.
But the Celtics called him up for Friday’s game for depth. Boston beat Detroit 114-93.
Fall might have Stevens’ school-age daughter, Kinsley, to thank for his playing time Friday. In a post-game news conference, Stevens recalled a phone conversation his family had.
For context, Kinsley knows the fan hype. Crowds have called for Fall at all his professional stops, including during the NBA’s Summer League, fall preseason contests, and during Red Claws games.
“It’s time to give the people what they want,” Kinsley told her dad, he recalled.
“I was laughing the whole time everybody was chanting,” Stevens told reporters after Friday’s game, “because all I could think about was Kinsley leading the cheers.”