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Prince and Princess of Wales received royal treatment from Celtics, Satch Sanders

Hall of Famer and former Celtic Satch Sanders (left) had a courtside seat next to the Prince and Princess of Wales Wednesday night.Boston Globe/Associated Press

The Prince and Princess of Wales watched the Celtics’ game against the Heat on Wednesday mostly surrounded by luminaries in the political and business realm such as Mayor Michelle Wu, Attorney General and Governor-elect Maura Healey, and team co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca.

But the Celtics wanted William and Kate to be able to really talk some basketball, too. So in the second half Hall of Fame forward Satch Sanders, whose No. 16 hangs from the Garden’s rafters, sat next to William.

“It was a very loud place and the Celtics were kicking buns and [Jayson] Tatum was showing off,” Sanders said by phone. “But we talked about the game and the players and he mentioned that it was interesting seeing the size of the sneakers that guys wear. I happened to mention that I’m a size 17 and 18, and he was kind of surprised. He took a look.”

Sanders, who won eight NBA championships with the Celtics, said William told him he played some basketball when he was a child, but that soccer consumed most of his time.


“Or, as he called it, football,” Sanders said with a chuckle. “At first I said, ‘You must mean soccer.’ And he corrected me.”

Sanders, 84, said he enjoyed spending time with the prince and princess, and he appreciated that they seemed to show a genuine interest in what was unfolding in front of them.

“And they did mention how good [Marcus] Smart looked with his green hair,” Sanders said. “And of course Tatum was out of his mind. He just couldn’t miss.”

Al Horford at home in Boston

Celtics center Al Horford signed a two-year, $20 million extension on Thursday. On Friday, he said it was important to finalize the contract now so it did not become a distraction later in the season, or into free agency next summer.


“I’m very happy,” Horford said before a 120-116 overtime loss to the Heat. “My family, we’re very happy about it. This is where we wanted to be. So now that we know that that’s over with, we can just focus on continuing to do the things that we’re doing here and continuing to put in the work every day and continue to build what we’re trying to build here.”

Horford, 36, is making $26.5 million in the final year of the four-year, $109 million deal he signed with the 76ers after leaving the Celtics in free agency in 2019. He’s been an essential part of Boston’s 18-4 start with center Robert Williams out, averaging 10.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game while connecting on a career-high 48.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.

“More than anything, you want to be in a place where you have a chance to contend, to win,” Horford said. “A place that’s, for me, more than basketball. Boston, I feel a real connection here with the people and with what the Celtics are all about, and it’s something that just really excited me. And the fact that I get that opportunity and [president of basketball operations Brad Stevens] believing in me and bringing me here, it’s something that’s special, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Jimmy Butler returns in style

Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who had missed the last seven games with a sore knee, returned to the lineup against the Celtics on Friday and scored 25 points … Forward Luka Samanic was named the G League player of the month after averaging 21.7 points and 11.4 rebounds and helping the Maine Celtics to an 8-2 start.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.