Sunday, June 23, 2024

Al Horford dismisses retirement rumors: 'I'm coming back, that's the plan'

Al Horford has been quite busy this past week since becoming an NBA champion for the first time in his 17-year career.

According the 38-year-old, he doesn't plan to retire either as the Celtics are heavy favorites to repeat next season.
"I don't know how that all got started to be honest," Horford told reporters Sunday at Dick's House of Sport event in Boston. "I'm coming back, that's the plan."
Horford, who's signed with the C's through the 2024-25 campaign at $9.5 million, was asked if he knew how much longer he plans to play.
"Not really. I feel good, I want to keep it going and I know that I have to be cautious with how I approach the season and how I go throughout the season," he said. "But I feel like we did a really good job, our Celtics medical group did a really good job managing me this season."
Despite coming off the bench for much of this past season to back up Kristaps Porzingis, Horford still started 33 games and had to step into a bigger role during the playoffs when Porzingis went down with injury.

The veteran big man also spoke on the Celtics' rolling rally parade and the turnout from the fans this past Friday.
"I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't realize that it was going to be that long of a trajectory, the duck parade," Horford said. "It was just very overwhelming, I just loved every minute of it"
Before hopping on the duck boat with his teammates, Horford worked a shift at Raising Cane's Chicken on Boylston Street in Boston. Fans lined up as early as 7:00 am for the event that was scheduled to start at 1:00 pm to catch a glimpse of their Dominican hero.
"Man, I just want to tell them thank you," Horford said of Boston and the fans Thursday. "I want to tell them that I appreciate them. We play basketball for the Celtics, but we understand that we represent much more. Boston. We represent the New England area. And I'm just very proud to be able to bring a championship to Boston.
"When I came here eight years ago, this was kind of what I envisioned. And it's been hard. It's been a lot of hard work. A lot of tough losses over the years. But just to get to this point, I'm very grateful."
Horford averaged 9.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in the 2024 playoffs and is the first Domincan born player to win an NBA championship, as he's looking forward to enter his 18th season in the league.
"I don't know why those speculations were out there, that I was, like, retiring. But I'm still playing and I'm very excited for next season," Horford said."Man, it's just a special place to me. I feel like, for me, it's the love of the people here for their sports, for the game. When I came here as a rookie, that captivated me. I've been all over the country, and I just haven't seen the love, the care, [and] the commitment from people towards not only their sports but their community.

"I feel like here in Boston, there's like a real tight community. Like, that's a real thing. Whether I'm out putting gas in my car, whether I'm in the grocery store, whatever, people always saying good things. Always embracing me and my family. And it's everywhere in Mass. We talk about in Boston, but we take my kids apple-picking, we go to the beach, we go to different places, and people are the same. They keep the same energy.

"People really love it here. And for me, that's the thing that captivated me. Just the sense of community here. Just the togetherness that we have here in Boston. And that's very special."

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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