At 7 feet 6 inches tall, the Boston Celtics’ Tacko Fall towered over the competition and over the Vegas Summer League.
Fans cheered every time he touched the ball, and “We want Tacko!” chants became common.
TV personality Maria Menounos wore a T-shirt Saturday at the Thomas &Mack Center that read, “Let’s Tacko ’Bout It.” An autograph session for Fall on Tuesday — called “Tacko Tuesday” — stretched around the concourse.
— NBA Summer League (@NBASummerLeague) July 13, 2019
“I anticipated (the fan reaction), but not at that level,” said Fall, a Senegal native and University of Central Florida product. “It was a little overwhelming. It meant a lot. The love that they kept showing just showed that my work wasn’t going unnoticed.”
Even non-Celtics fans who would rather eat dirt than cheer for someone wearing green and white got behind Fall, whose top-seeded Celtics fell Saturday to the No. 8 Grizzlies 94-88.
Now the question is what happens from here.
“He should be given a shot in the NBA somewhere,” Celtics Summer League coach Scott Morrison said. “I’m not saying that we should or shouldn’t take him. That’s the decision for the front office, but I think he’s showed that he’s capable or worthy of a spot. The knocks against him were the obvious ones, that he can’t move, can’t run, his offense is too slow, things like that, and I think he had a lot of moments this week where he showed he could keep up with the pace.”
Fall played only six minutes against the Grizzlies, totaling two points and two rebounds. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in four prior games.
“I did everything that I could,” Fall said. “Everything else will take care of itself.”
Playing through grief
The Celtics’ Tremont Waters played Thursday and Saturday even after his father, Ed, committed suicide Thursday morning in a hotel room in West Haven, Connecticut. Ed Waters was 49.
Tremont Waters wrote a message of tribute to his dad on his shoes Saturday.
Tremont Waters wrote a message on his sneakers in memory of his father, who passed away on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/glKI7y0G6A
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 13, 2019
“He has family here, so he’s got a good support system from his home side and from his Celtics side,” Morrison said. “From the top down, everyone’s offered him as much as they can to help him. Obviously, that’s a lot more important than Summer League basketball, but it was his choice to stay and play, and he felt that was the best way he wanted to deal with it.”
Bridges crossing over
The Charlotte Hornets were without injured 2019 first-round pick PJ Washington throughout the Summer League, but another first-rounder was more than available.
Miles Bridges punctuated his second Summer League with a thunderous, windmill dunk in an 84-74 victory over the Utah Jazz at Cox Pavilion. The 6-7 wing, drafted No. 12 last year, averaged 15 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in five games.
“It starts with him defensively. How good and versatile can he be defensively? He’s an athletic guy. He can guard multiple positions. Defensively, it starts for him there,” said Hornets Summer League coach Ronald Nored, who praised Bridges for playing in the consolation game. “All these little things, I think in the course of the couple days out there, you saw them all come together.”