The 2008 Boston Celtics used to bet on virtually everything, apparently even the pronunciation of certain animal names.
In a recent article for The Athletic, Jay King relayed an anecdote originally shared by Brian Scalabrine about a time that Paul Pierce bet Tony Allen $10,000 that the latter couldn’t correctly say the plural form of moose.
“One time, Scalabrine said, Pierce offered Tony Allen $10,000 if he could properly say the plural form of moose,” King wrote. “According to Scalabrine, Pierce pointed at a single moose and told Allen he would win the money if he could say the correct term to use if two such animals were together on top of a nearby car.”
Scalabrine then relayed how Allen responded to Pierce’s query.
‘Them two mooses over there are on top of that car. Now give me my money,” said Allen.
The story is an entertaining one, and it shows just how eager players on that Celtics squad were to gamble on anything and everything. Scalabrine shared the story to emphasize how the financial incentives tied to the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament would have motivated that particular team.
There are cash prizes for all players on the teams that reach the knockout rounds of the tournament, and the amount of those cash prizes grows as a team continues to advance. Every player on a team gets $50,000 for making the quarterfinals, $100,000 for reaching the semifinals, $200,000 for reaching the finals and $500,000 for winning the tournament title. Two-way players on rosters of qualified teams will only receive half as much as those on standard contracts.
Given the fact that the tournament is a new addition to the NBA schedule, there was some internal concern that players wouldn’t take it very seriously. Any bonus money is good money, and Scalabrine is convinced that the tournament prize would have been more than enough to motivate the ’08 Celtics.
“I’m telling you, that group was so motivated by money,” Scalabrine said. “You can’t imagine how that group was. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
It’s tough to tell just how much the financial incentive has been motivating current players during tournament play this season, but it certainly seems like teams are taking it seriously. Tournament games have been consistently competitive and teams have appeared inspired to advance.
The knockout rounds of the In-Season Tournament are set to kick off on Monday night. In all, eight teams advanced from group play and the remaining teams will now compete against each other. The eights teams that advanced are the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.
Moving forward, the tournament is single elimination and it will culminate with the championship game on Dec. 9.