Now, Horford still is trying to wrap his head around the fact that he will be lining up against Boston on Wednesday night as a member of the Sixers in the teams’ season opener.
“It is very surreal,” Horford said after practice Tuesday. “I never would have imagined being in this position. For me, it’s a great challenge ahead, being here and trying to accomplish something special here.”
Horford entered last season expecting to be part of something special in Boston. The Celtics had sky-high expectations after making it to the Eastern Conference finals the year before with both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward sidelined due to injury.
If Stephen Curry needed any extra motivation, he has some, courtesy of Cheap Charlotte Hornets Jerseys owner Michael Jordan.
“He’s still a great player,” Jordan told NBC’s “Today” on Monday after saying that the Cheap Golden State Warriors Jerseys star wouldn’t be included on his dream five-man pick-up team. “Not a Hall of Famer yet, though. He’s not.”
Jordan said he’d stick with Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson and James Worthy as his teammates on his fantasy starting five.
Curry has quite the résumé after 10 NBA seasons. He is a two-time league MVP — including the first unanimous selection — and has won three championships with the Warriors. In addition, Curry is a six-time All-Star selection, has won a scoring title, twice led the league in steals and is a three-time first-team All-NBA selection as well as an All-Rookie team pick.
His career mark of 23.5 points per game ranks 25th in NBA history, and he ranks third with 2,483 3-pointers after leading the league in that category for five consecutive seasons from 2012-13 through 2016-17.
Jordan, who won six NBA titles, five MVP awards, six Finals MVP awards and was a 14-time All-Star, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I think Michael has his own version of the Hall of Fame,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said with a smile after Tuesday’s practice. “It’s in his own head — so whatever that is, that’s what it is.”
Kerr was a teammate of Jordan’s with the Bulls, winning three consecutive NBA titles from 1996-1998.
Johnson, the Hall of Famer and former Cheap Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys executive, tweeted out his thoughts on Jordan’s statement.
Everyone relax. We know Steph Curry is a future Hall of Famer…Michael Jordan couldn’t say it because he would get fined by the league.
While with the Lakers, Johnson was fined $50,000 by the Cheap NBA Jerseys in 2018 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule for saying young star Giannis Antetokounmpo would someday lead the Cheap Milwaukee Bucks Jerseys to a championship.
But rather than taking the East by storm last season, the Celtics instead fell flat, finishing with the fourth seed before being steamrolled by the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the second round.
Philadelphia enters this season with similar expectations after a busy summer that saw Horford and Josh Richardson arrive, and both Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris get massive long-term deals. Horford says he learned a few things from the way last season played out in Boston that he hopes to translate to this season with the Sixers.
“It’s good to have expectations, I believe,” he said. “You want to come out, you want to compete, you want to do special things. People see we are capable of them, but we have to go out and do them.
“One thing I’ve learned is that just because you’re expected [to win] doesn’t mean you’re going to get it done. I do believe we have a lot of work ahead as a group, we just do, and we’ll take it game-by-game this season.”
Horford surprised many by leaving Boston as a free agent this summer after opting out of the final year of his contract in June. For all of the attention that Irving’s departure to Brooklyn has received, the Celtics were able to replace him with another All-Star point guard, Kemba Walker. Boston didn’t have the same ability to replace Horford with a like replacement, and instead enters Wednesday’s showdown with a decidedly unsettled center rotation in his absence.
That, however, is not Horford’s concern. And while he won’t play the Celtics in Boston until Dec. 12, he said he is happy to get the first meeting out of the way as fast as he could.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Horford said. “I’m definitely put in a weird position here, but playing it now, to your question, it’s the best thing for me to go out there and do it and really cement myself here in Philadelphia.”
It also will be Horford’s first opportunity to play alongside Joel Embiid in a regular-season game. Horford earned a deserved reputation as one of few defenders capable of slowing down the Sixers’ superstar center while playing for the Celtics, but now will be playing much more regularly as a power forward alongside Embiid.
“It’s a different challenge,” Horford said. “For me, I’ll be guarding more on the perimeter, doing different things. It’s a different challenge, and I welcome and accept it, and I am glad I’m not guarding him anymore.”