BOSTON — Hours before the Cleveland Cavaliers got stomped by the Boston Celtics in a humbling game where they just “didn’t bring it,” it was time for reflection.
On Tristan Thompson’s Cavaliers career. On his place in franchise history. On the glory days when Cleveland was competing annually for the NBA title.
Sunday was Thompson’s first meeting against his old team, something he called weird and emotional — the first time it really hit him since joining the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent a few months back.
The chatter surrounding this matchup was a bit more hushed if only because it was in a mostly empty TD Garden as opposed to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, where nearly 2,000 fans eventually await their chance to show appreciation for nine transformational years that included a historic championship.
So, how would Thompson like to be remembered?
“For people in Cleveland, just as a guy who was basically one of them,” Thompson said Sunday morning. “Blue collar. Hardworking. Punch the clock. Against all odds. People in Cleveland are always looked over. But people in Cleveland are genuine, hardworking, tough, gritty MFs. That’s how I was when I played. I hope people remember me as that. Hopefully one day my jersey is up in that arena.”
If Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who shared a warm embrace with Thompson on the floor prior to the 141-103 blowout, has any say, then it’s a certainty.