It's hard to imagine that Danny Ainge turned down the opportunity to become general manager of the Boston Celtics, but he did ... twice.
Ainge finally accepted the job in May of 2003, but it wasn't easy for C's owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca to get him to accept the gig.
“They (Grousbeck and Pagliuca) told me that (former Celtics president) Red (Auerbach) had recommended that they hire me,” Ainge told The Boston's Globe's Gary Washburn. “I was flattered and I told them thank you. My three older kids had graduated from high school. I have my three youngest at home, so life is a little bit different. I told them I was not interested in the job and I gave them names of people in the league and some former Celtic players they should interview.
“I didn’t jump at it. It wasn’t anything I was looking to really do. As time went on, they had come a second time and a third time while I was broadcasting. I sensed my wife was warming up to the idea. Eventually, I said yes.”
With Ainge in control, the Celtics won their 17th NBA title in 2008 and he was later promoted to president of basketball operations. Boston has made the playoffs 13 times since Ainge took over in 2003, and has made it to the conference finals five times with two NBA Finals appearances.
The 61-year-old has managed to put together a solid 2019-20 Celtics team and has set the organization up for immense success in the future with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker leading the way.
Ainge spent seven and a half seasons playing for the Celtics between 1981-89. He averaged 11.3 points, 4.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three-point range. He made the All-Star game twice and was a two-time NBA champion as a player.
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