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At first, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens tried not to submit to the will of the Orlando Magic's raucous crowd as fans - and even Celtics guard Marcus Smart - began to chant, "We want Tacko!"
The game was already well out of hand by the end of the first quarter, frankly, so the central Florida crowd felt as if they deserved to see Celtics rookie center Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-5 phenomenon, take the floor in the city he called home for the past four years.
Fall played four seasons for the UCF Knights, under head coach Donnie Jones in 2015-16 before he was replaced by Johnny Dawkins in 2016-17. He was a starter from Day 1, although he wouldn't earn national acclaim until his senior season at UCF, in which he earned All-Conference honors and played well in a head-to-head battle against upcoming star Zion Williamson.
So, of course the Orlando faithful have plenty of love for the Senegal native.
With five and half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Smart and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum grabbed Fall of the bench and brought him towards the scorer's table to check in. Upon noticing Fall was set to enter the game, the fans immediately broke out into applause, giving the rookie his second standing ovation in two preseason games.
Following the game, Stevens told reporters that he intended to bring Fall in at the five-minute mark but "everybody was yelling at me."
So he had his two young leaders fix the situation.
"We not Tacko," says Smart, reminiscing on what he told the big - no pun intended - man as he tried to get him out his seat.
The fanfare behind Fall is tremendous and, no matter what team you root for, the support that he's getting feels deserved. Not only does he have plenty of potential, particularly as a rim-protector and finisher, but he's humble and a genuinely nice guy.
A person that everyone can be a fan of.
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