Celtics play dodgeball to break up banality inside NBA's Orlando bubble


Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter figured a conditioning drill was coming.

Near the end of a Celtics workout earlier this week, coach Brad Stevens lined up two teams of players on opposite baselines. But then he brought out a surprise: Dodgeballs.

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We’ll let Kanter describe the scene.

"It was the end of the practice and coach Brad is like, ‘We got the last thing to do.’ And everybody was like, ‘OK, I think we’re going to do some kind of conditioning drill or whatever,’” Kanter said on this week’s “The Enes Kanter Show” podcast. "Then he put the white team on one side and the black team on the other side -- I was on the white team with all these guys like [Marcus] Smart, [Jayson] Tatum, and all the other guys. He said, ‘OK, black on one baseline, white on the other baseline.’ Then he brought the dodgeballs. I’m like, ‘Oh no! We’re about to play dodgeball.’ But I was like, ‘Man, I never played dodgeball before.’

"So he put the volleyballs in the middle and just said, ‘Go!’ And everybody [runs]. The guy that’s throwing on me was Tacko [Fall]. So he’s running one side, I’m on the other side. I picked up the ball -- that was the first time I played dodgeball so I didn’t know like the balls were that light. So I went out, threw the ball, and it went to the moon. I’m like, ‘Oh no, this is ugly.’ And someone was filming it.

"So we actually beat the black team first, the white team beat the black team first and they were out. Then, the second game was white against green, and we played against Kemba [Walker], Jaylen Brown, Tremont [Waters] … Grant Williams. Same setup. White team one side, green team other side, coach said, ‘Go!' and we pick up all those dodgeballs, green team got none, and we literally just destroyed them.”

Video of Kanter airmailing one of his throws, the ball sailing nowhere near a possible target, circulated on social media and Kanter owned his poor showing.

“So, first off, listen, man, because we don’t have that dodgeball game in Turkey,” said Kanter. "That was like the first time I ever played dodgeball.”

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics’ dodgeball games and getting ready to joust with Joel Embiid and the Sixers | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Kanter eventually settled in and admitted he, "tried to hit everybody in the face … but I was so terrible.”

Regardless, players enjoyed the break from typical basketball work.

"We’ve been [in the bubble] for like almost 40 days now. And you feel it, too. You start feeling it,” said Kanter. "I think things like this dodgeball or just taking everybody bowling, or just hanging out and stuff, I think it makes us so much better. We are kinda like trapped here. We cannot literally go anywhere outside of the hotel. We’re just trying to get the best out of it.”

Kanter deemed teammate Tatum the best dodgeball player on the Celtics roster. Kanter also posted a picture of the scoreboard when the team went bowling later that night and Tatum had again dominated, closing his string with four consecutive strikes.

"This guy like, be bad at something, man,” joked Kanter. "Why are you good at everything? Be bad at something. We actually played bowling yesterday and [Tatum] destroyed everybody.”

Kanter struggled at bowling, too, and his teammates let him know about it again.

“[Teammates said], 'Hey, man, do you need the bumpers up?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not that bad,’” said Kanter. "Last time I played bowling was a long time ago. The thing is, I was actually trying to practice my spin. I was trying to spin it but the ball was going like airball, airball, airball. That’s what I call [a gutter ball].”

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