Boston Celtics

‘Mazzulla' docuseries: How Celtics coach embraces the uncomfortable

"How many stressful situations can I put myself in constantly so that I'm growing?"

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you've observed Joe Mazzulla over the past two seasons, you've probably noticed he's wired a bit differently.

The Celtics head coach, who has guided Boston to an NBA-best 172-74 record since taking over the job just before the start of training camp in 2022, is a fierce competitor. We've seen him contest opponents' shots on the court after the whistle and spar with reporters during press conferences. Away from the court, he practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu on a regular basis and recently admitted he looks to "win every single situation or environment," whether he's on an NBA sideline or in a Dunkin' getting coffee.

Over the last year, NBC Sports Boston's video crew spent time with Mazzulla to learn what drives the 35-year-old and inspires his unique personality. Part 1 of our "Mazzulla" docuseries focused on the coach's competitive drive, and in Part 2, Mazzulla offered some interesting insight into his daily mindset, including a glimpse into his pregame cold tub routine, which Mazzulla allowed with one stipulation -- that our producer join him.

"When I got the job last year, it grew into, really, the most uncomfortable thing you could do," Mazzulla said of what inspired his pregame cold tub plunges. "Like, you start that day with it, everything else is kind of comfortable."

Mazzulla carries that mindset of embracing the uncomfortable into his coaching.

"When you come in here, you have to learn how to deal with stuff," he added. "You can't run from it. I think that's one of the critical points of coaching is like, you never know the moments that you're going to be in. You don't know if it's going to be a tie game, double overtime, triple overtime, the emotion of the game. And under the most stressful times, can you eliminate emotion? Can you eliminate anything and just make tactical decisions?

"That's kind of my daily approach: How many stressful situations can I put myself in constantly so that I'm growing?"

But why did Mazzulla make our producer take the plunge with him?

"Honestly, it was a test to see what the (expletive) you were about -- see if I could trust you," Mazzulla replied with a grin.

"No, kind of. But it was really like, as I step into this arena of (interacting with the media) ... everyone is saying, 'We want to get to know you.' Well, that would be the most authentic thing I would have done to anybody is, 'Let's go do this.' And so I just kind of wanted to show that authenticity."

Check out the video player above to watch "Mazzulla: Part 2" in its entirety, and head to our YouTube page to check out Part 1.

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