MEMPHIS — Payton Pritchard was minding his own business and trying to help the Celtics defeat the Raptors on Friday night when one of the world’s most famous performers took a playful jab at him.
The rapper, Drake, a longtime diehard Raptors fan, joined Toronto’s television broadcast during the game, and when he saw the 6-foot-1-inch Pritchard running up and down the court, he could not resist.
“Payton Pritchard’s out there looking like a crypto scammer,” Drake said.
Pritchard said that plenty of friends sent him the clip after the game. On Saturday, he shared a series of pictures of himself on Instagram with the caption, ‘crypto scammer.’ And he posted an Instagram story in which he told Drake he had some Bitcoin for him.
On Sunday, Pritchard said he was a bit confused by the rapper’s quip, but was certainly not offended by it.
“What does a crypto scammer look like?” Pritchard said. “I don’t even know. I would say it looks like an average-looking white person, so I would say I’m like a normal-looking white dude, normal height, like I look like everybody else. So, considering in the NBA world. I think that’s maybe what he meant, so I don’t know.”
Pritchard said he decided to play along because he thought it was all in good fun.
“He’s just trying to make a joke,” Pritchard said. “It’s funny. I’m not going to take it personal. It’s nothing that serious.”
Brown says league ignoring court issue
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown was cleared to play against the Grizzlies on Sunday after suffering an adductor strain when he slipped and fell during the final seconds of Boston’s win over Toronto.
After that game, Brown said that the customized floor used for the In-Season Tournament was very slippery and was putting players in danger. On Sunday, he said that he had sent text messages to league and players association officials about the issue, stressing that several other players have complained about the quality of the surfaces of in-season tournament floors.
“A bunch of other players have voiced their complaints,” Brown said. “Some of them have fallen on deaf ears, and I guess when you start having guys missing games potentially, I guess it becomes more of a wake-up call for everybody . . . I’ve definitely got some soreness, but we definitely need to make sure the courts are secure for the In-Season Tournament.”
Brown said he did not have issues with the floor used for the Celtics’ In-Season Tournament home game against the Nets on Nov. 10.
“I was thinking [the league] would have heard the initial complaints,” Brown said. “People were complaining a week or two before I even had my incident. So, hopefully, it becomes an emphasis over the next week or whenever the In-Season Tournament continues, because you can’t just have guys out there where it’s unsafe. Injuries can happen and that can affect a lot more than just revenue.”
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said Sunday that he had not noticed problems with the In-Season Tournament floor until Friday.
“Whatever we have to do to keep the players healthy,” he said, “we’ll do.”
Mazzulla said that when he was hired as an assistant by the Celtics in 2019, he did not feel comfortable having a voice yet, so he often sat back and watched how Smart operated.
“He’s a guy that I would pay attention to because he was always communicating,” Mazzulla said. “He had been around a long time, he knew NBA defenses. And so I kind of learned from him just how he communicated, the different things he saw in a game. And I think that kind of, as I grew into my coaching, our conversations started to be around that. So just his perspective on the game has kind of helped me.”