Boston Celtics

Why Celtics' Banner 18 parade won't be Mazzulla's first duck boat ride

"We did one at the beginning of the year and we're gonna end with one."

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The Celtics will show off the Larry O'Brien Trophy and celebrate winning the 2024 NBA Finals with a championship parade in the City of Boston on Friday morning.

And, like all the other title parades in Boston this century, the players, coaches, their families and team staff will be transported along the parade route in the famous duck boats.

For some players and staff, it will be their first time on the iconic duck boats, but not for Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla.

Coaches usually do retreats before each season, and they typically entail going to a fancy location and just getting away from the city. But Mazzulla decided to do something different with his staff going into the 2023-24 campaign.

The Celtics' coaching retreat was in Boston and included a duck boat tour. Why did Mazzulla choose this option?

"We did a duck boat tour. We kinda spoke it into existence with the duck boat tour. So the staff took one. Most coaching retreats guys go away -- go to the beach, go to Cape Cod, go to different places. We did our coaching retreat in downtown Boston," Mazzulla told 98.5 The Sports Hub show Zolak and Bertrand on Thursday, as seen in the video player above.

"We had new staff members, and we were building this identity and connection to the city. So I said, 'We're doing our staff retreat in Boston, we're going to dinner in Boston and we're going to a Boston hotel and do the duck boat tour so we can understand the city and the history. We need to know what this is really all about.' So we did one at the beginning of the year and we're gonna end with one."

Mazzulla is very happy to be going back on the duck boats to celebrate the Celtics' Banner 18 triumph with the fans.

"I'm really excited to see how the people support the players; that's going to be awesome," Mazzulla said. "The coolest thing about coaching is watching a group of guys sacrifice everything, which I think our guys did.

"I thought it went underappreciated -- the mindset, the humility, the sacrifice that the guys did throughout the season. And it's going to be really fun to watch them enjoy that."

The last time the Celtics had a championship parade was in 2008 after the new Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen helped the team defeat Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. This year's title-winning group is headlined by two young superstars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who led the C's to a five-game Finals series win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Friday's parade will be the 13th duck boat title celebration for Boston sports teams this century. Not bad at all.

NBC Sports Boston's parade coverage starts at 9:30 a.m. ET.

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