سایت طوفان بت : LEGEND: Derrick White’s journey to stardom with the Boston Celtics 

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Picture the Derrick White you think you know. The dependable, do-it-all combo guard. The sneaky and spectacular shot-blocker. The relentless on-ball defender. The clutch shotmaker whenever the Boston Celtics need a bucket. The connector. The Derrick White who had 26 points, seven rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and one steal against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2.

His family and close friends have always known him like this, the unassuming baller shining on the court. But growing up, coaches and recruiters and teammates and opponents didn’t notice Derrick White until they couldn’t avoid him.

“He had just gotten his wisdom teeth out,” said Alex Welsh, White’s best friend and teammate at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. “It was either that morning or the day before. And you’ve been around someone who’s gotten their wisdom teeth. They have chubby cheeks. And at this point, Derrick’s like 6’4”, 160 pounds. So skinny. And he just walks in, he’s got these huge cheeks, and this is his first impression with a lot of the guys.”

In the summer before starting at UCCS, a Division II school and the only college to scout him, White had yet to grow into his frame.

He was a slight, scrawny kid just out of high school. And he had really puffy cheeks.

Along with a few new teammates, he went to get some practice in at a Pro-Am league. No one expected much of him — he was expected to red-shirt his freshman year.

“We all know who he is. Some of us met him. But he walked in, and everybody was like, ‘Yo, are you good? Like, what?’ He was like, [mumbled] ‘Oh, I got my wisdom teeth out.’ He’s talking like you do when you get your wisdom teeth out. Everybody’s like, ‘Why are you here?’ He was like, ‘Oh, I feel fine. I’m okay.’”

And despite initial hesitation, the reserved, chipmunk-y kid did what he always does: busted out of his shell.

“All of a sudden, [the Pro-Am] was like a one night a week thing for three or four weeks throughout the summer — he’s ridiculous,” said Welsh. “He’s doing put-back slams and driving down the lane and taking off on people off one foot. And we’re like, ‘What? Who is this kid?’”

White had defied everyone’s expectations. Again.

Derrick White isn’t a star from NBA central casting. In a sport that highlights dramatic, rim-rocking plays, White’s been often overlooked. But there’s a competitive drive that simmers just under the surface of the quiet kid from Parker, Colorado. It’s propelled him to be the essential piece of a championship contender that he is today.

Left to right: Reece Elliot and Derrick White as kids. Both are wearing yellow Parker, Colorado basketball shirts.

Left to right: Reece Elliot and Derrick White.

Derrick White’s friends and family say he’s always had enough confidence to fill an entire arena. They also understood that, because of his appearance, he was chronically passed up.

“He was just not that big. He just didn’t have the size,” said Cory Calvert, a childhood friend. Outsiders would take a look at White’s skinny frame and move on.

To casual observers, White has always been shy and reserved. However, in quiet, private settings, Calvert remembered him differently. “You get to know him, and he talks a lot of smack,” he said.

“His personality has always been very competitive,” said Richard White, Derrick’s father. “He’s liked sports since the age of 4. He’s very social with his particular friends. So, he’s very loyal in that regard.”

Left to right: Derrick White and Reece Elliot as kids. Both are wearing orange football jerseys that say “Hawks.”

Left to right: Derrick White and Reece Elliot.

And while White constantly showed off his conviction in more intimate environments, his personality only reinforced the presumptuous way outsiders viewed him.

“He’s never going to be the loudest guy in the room that comes out. That’s just not his style,” said Reece Elliot, another childhood friend. “He doesn’t have that outgoing personality. But it’s not because he’s reserved. He’s just very aware, and he’s a good listener, and he’s a good friend. So, he picks and chooses his battles wisely, which I love about him.”

From high school to college, and on to the NBA, coaches and scouts have judged White for his size and demeanor. It made the road to the league, already improbable, even harder.

Left to right: Reece Elliot playing for Chaparral High School and Derrick White playing for Legend High School.

Left to right: Reece Elliot playing for Chaparral High School and Derrick White playing for Legend High School.

Imagine White now, in his element. He’s just slithered over a screen and he’s fighting back into the play. He’s a step behind as Anthony Edwards makes his move, but just as the shot goes up, White extends his reach to cleanly swat the ball from behind.

That defensive artist didn’t get a shot to play basketball for his middle school.

“In eighth grade, he actually got cut from the team and didn’t even make the A-team,” Calvert said. “And I remember being really frustrated about it at the time because he’s one of my best friends, and he was obviously good enough.”

The setback was earth-shattering.

“[He was] devastated,” said Calvert. “And I remember his parents were furious. And I was furious. It just was a really, really unfortunate situation, to be honest.”

Some thirteen-year-olds throw tantrums when life doesn’t go their way. White took the disappointment on the chin. Not unlike the relentless defender he is on the court, he fought through the pick and kept moving. He decided to prove his doubters wrong.

“He became the man at his high school the next year as a freshman,” Calvert said. “And even though he was small, he was by far their best player.”

In his four years at Legend High School, White logged 1085 points and 176 steals, establishing himself as a Titans legend. He’s one of only three athletes from Legend to go pro; the other two are Boston Red Sox infielder Bobby Dalbec and Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Chad Muma.

Derrick White of Legend High School hugging Reece Elliot (#33) of Chaparral High School.

Derrick White of Legend High School hugging Reece Elliot (#33) of Chaparral High School.

But despite his high school success, White wasn’t on many college recruiters’ radars. Interest was so low, White’s dad took matters into his own hands.

“I found out how Richard had been emailing a bunch of [Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference colleges] in the DII conference out here and every other coach that would take their email,” said University of Colorado Colorado Springs head coach Jeff Culver. “[He] didn’t have much success.”

Culver was the only collegiate coach to scout White coming out of high school. He knew of White from his time at Johnson & Wales, an NAIA school known for its culinary program. So, when Culver made the move to UCCS, he recruited White.

Upon White’s arrival at UCCS for his freshman season, Culver planned to red-shirt his new recruit. He was confident in White’s abilities, but he believed that White needed to grow into his frame a bit more before contributing at the next level.

“I didn’t have a lot of finite answers for [White’s family], but what we did offer was an opportunity,” Culver said. “And really, that, at the end of the day, was what Derrick was looking for. He believed in himself and was just looking for a coach and a program that would believe in him as well.”

In high school, White quickly emerged as Legend’s best player, but that wasn’t in the cards at UCCS to start.

He was living with three other players, all of whom were getting minutes. “It was four of us, all on the basketball team,” Welsh said. “Nobody else was red-shirting besides him, so it was tough for him.”

When the Mountain Lions started preseason practices, White lined up with the reserves. They scrimmaged against the starting unit, but it was lopsided— in favor of White’s squad.

“Derrick was killing our starting five,” Welsh recalled. “He’s taking the ball from them, he’s going over the top of people, he’s out-rebounding them, [and] their team is beating ours in practice.”

As he continued to exceed expectations, the plan to red-shirt White seemed out of the question. Everything changed after UCCS traveled north for a preseason game, and things didn’t go well. “We got spanked,” Welsh remembered.

Then, White got his shot.

“The next day, we fly back, and Derrick doesn’t say anything,” Welsh said. “We lived together. We show up at practice the next morning, and he goes from red-shirting to starting. They moved him right into the starting lineup. It’s just a hell of a story.”

His freshman season, the team went 6-22 overall, including a 5-17 record in the conference. The very next year, the team went 21-9 with a 16-6 conference record.

His minutes only went from 29.5 to 30.5 per game, but Culver trusted him with increasing his responsibilities. White attempted 293 shots his freshman year, but as a sophomore, the number jumped to 367, and his scoring numbers went from 16.9 points per game to 22.2.

As a junior, White and the Mountain Lions really took off. UCCS went 27-6 overall and 17-5 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. They broke off a 14-0 win streak to start the season, peaked at #2 in the NCAA Division II rankings, and took home an RMAC Championship.

White formed a dynamic duo with his roommate Welsh, the Mountain Lions’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and the two became best friends. UCCS under Culver was a home — a place where White was thriving.

But, like so many young adults discovering themselves, White wanted more. That meant leaving the community he’d built with Welsh and Culver in Colorado Springs.

“The conversation that we had that stuck with me was when it was brought to my attention, he said, ‘Coach, you told me that every year I have to get better,’” said Marcus Mason, White’s trainer, mentor, and long-time friend. “And he articulated why he wanted to leave.

”He said, ‘You told me every year that I have to get better.’ And I got really upset with him, and I said, ‘What do you mean? You’re telling me you can’t get better next year?’ And he said, ‘Well, no Division I schools will schedule us. I will only probably have two competitive games the entire year.’”

White didn’t think he didn’t fit at UCCS. He loved it there. He was with his friends, it was the only school that gave him an opportunity coming out of high school, and Welsh thought they had a shot at winning a national championship the following year.

Success with the Mountain Lions alongside his best friend was a story three-quarters finished. But White was eager for the next challenge, and the University of Colorado Boulder had come calling and White was ready to answer.

However, leaving UCCS meant letting others down. White hated that. And he had to tell his best friend that he was leaving for Boulder. That conversation was more difficult for White than any on-court challenge he’d faced so far.

Welsh remembered being home in the six-bedroom apartment he and White shared with other basketball players. He got a text from the bedroom upstairs.

“What are you doing?”

Welsh was quick to mock his best friend. “We’re like ten feet apart. Why are you texting me?”

So White came downstairs. Welsh, sitting on his bed, watched White plop himself into his desk chair.

“He’s kind of rocking his body back and forth. And I’m like, ‘What’s up, bro? Are you okay? What’s going on?’”

White refused to get to the point and was doing whatever he could to avoid the conversation. Eventually, Welsh figured it out himself.

“You’re leaving, aren’t you?”

All White could muster up was an exasperated, “Yeah…”

He revealed that he was joining CU and that the transfer would be official soon. Welsh was stunned, and the two best friends sat in silence, neither knowing exactly what to say. After a few quiet moments, White spoke.

“Are you mad at me?”

White, not one for conflict, was more worried about disappointing his friend than changing schools. But Welsh quickly eased his friend’s guilt.

“Bro, no, I’m not mad. I’m so happy for you, and I will never be mad. But I am sad.”

After a brief moment of sadness, the two friends reconciled, and the whole friend group began joking about whether or not White could get them the latest CU gear.

Left to right: Dan Hargrove, Alex Koehler, Derrick White, and Andrew Buckholtz. Koehler and White are wearing gear from the University of Colorado Boulder, while Buckholtz is wearing a USA Paralympics jacket. Hargrove is wearing a black T-shirt.

Left to right: Dan Hargrove, Alex Koehler, Derrick White, and Andrew Buckholtz.

In Boulder, White finally got the red-shirt year he was supposed to have as a freshman at UCCS. Culver said White spent the extra time in the weight room. “His body was finally done growing vertically. He had been filling out [in] Year Two and Year Three with us, but then a full year in the weight room and an offseason program was huge for him in Boulder.”

After sitting out one season at CU per NCAA rules, White once again demonstrated why those in his corner speak so highly of him. He played 32.8 minutes per game, leading the team in scoring (18.1 PPG), assists (4.4 APG), and steals (1.2 SPG). White also finished second in blocks (1.4 BPG) and fourth in rebounding (4.1 RPG).

Colorado went just 19-15, but White proved that he belonged at the DI level and then some. After his senior year, he declared for the NBA Draft and was selected 29th by the San Antonio Spurs.

Left to right: Amida Brimah, Derrick White, Alex Welsh, Tommie Anderson. All four adults are wearing casual outfits. White is wearing a San Antonio Spurs hat.

Left to right: Amida Brimah, Derrick White, Alex Welsh, Tommie Anderson.

Now in the NBA, White was still being ignored, even by the team that had drafted him.

“I never even saw him, never even knew he existed in the world,” head coach Gregg Popovich said. “Didn’t know he was on the planet.”

San Antonio was in a state of flux. Kawhi Leonard was attempting to force his way out of town. The Spurs were pivoting towards a rebuild. They were on the hunt for new players, but White only earned an opportunity at the G League level.

He showed out for the Austin affiliate, averaging over 20 points and five rebounds. But in spite of increasing success including a G League championship, White was the same: jovial and outgoing with friends and family, timid in front of a crowd. Even after being drafted into the NBA, he was still trying his best to go with the flow and be a fly on the wall.

“It was maybe his first or second G League game, and he took like two shots. He was being passive,” said Dan Hargrove, former UCCS assistant and one of White’s closest friends. “I texted him after, and I was like, ‘Bro, what are you doing? Like, this isn’t you. What is going on here?’ He was like, ‘I know. I’m just trying to find my role.’ I think he’s always been so careful not to shake up what’s already been built or to upturn the applecart if you will. He’s very conscientious and very pragmatic when it comes to moving to new situations.”

White’s head-down, do-the-work attitude meshed perfectly with Spurs basketball, but even Popovich had to convince White that he belonged. Under Pop and his staff, White started to shed some of his outer shell. Once challenged, he outperformed. Yet, his quiet attitude remained. Sometimes he still needed external pressure.

“[Popovich] told me, ‘I got no choice. You gotta go.’ So I just got thrown into the fire and was just trying to learn on the fly,” White told JJ Reddick on The Old Man & The Three Podcast. “I mean, his big thing with me is telling me that I belonged, to prove myself that I belonged, so every other day he would come up to me and be like, ‘Hey, you belong here.’ So having someone believe in you and trusting you, it meant a lot.”

The very next year, San Antonio acknowledged White’s success. He became a core part of their rotation. He appeared in 67 games, starting 55 of them. By March, White had Popovich begging the front office to hand him a new deal. “He should refuse to play another game until we change this contract. He has been spectacular,” Popovich said.

In the postseason, White continued to show off his game. He made headlines after an incredible performance in a win over the Denver Nuggets. White put up 36 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a block on 15-of-21 shooting.

Following his remarkable playoff performance, White earned the chance to play with Team USA at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Coached by Popovich, White averaged 15.5 minutes per contest, playing alongside future teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart.

From then on, the opportunities to shine flooded in. He improved his scoring numbers in each of the next two seasons, jumping from 9.9 points per game to 11.3 to a career-high 15.4 in the 2020-21 season. White was starting nearly every game as a top-3 scoring option in San Antonio.

White had seemingly made it, but still rarely showed his confidence in ways fans might expect. The soft-spoken approach covered up the killer instinct. “He’s just [a] locked in, quiet assassin,” said Hargrove.

White seems to have always possessed internal belief, and he’s naturally combined it with the humble external attitude that the public sees. It’s not an easy balance to maintain with the bright lights of the NBA shining down on him.

“He’s a great guy to have in a locker room because he’s a stabilizing influence with a level head and never takes any credit for himself,” said Calvert. “He’s always dishing compliments to the team and deflecting any of the limelight that he gets. So, I think it’s a pretty unique quality that he has.”

Outsiders always found a way to cast him aside, but after a few years with the Spurs, that began to change.

And by the time the 2022 NBA trade deadline rolled around, another team expressed their interest for White.

On February 10, 2022, Boston sent Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, their 2022 first-round draft pick, and a 2028 pick swap to San Antonio in exchange for White’s talents.

Even after the Celtics had rattled off a 17-7 record after the new year and become a Finals favorite, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens identified White as a missing piece to a Banner 18 run.

“They paid a little bit extra to get a guy they really like,” an NBA executive told Steve Bulpett of Heavy Sports. “He’s the guy that they targeted. The Celtics went after him. They ended up getting the guy they wanted. You can tell by the price they paid for him.”

It was a whole new environment for White — a team with a shot at the title and an entirely new set of people to warm up to. Not an easy situation for the introvert.

When he joined the Celtics, the team was already gelling. They had won six in a row and eight of their last nine, and their defense had established itself as the best in the league.

Listen to any recently-traded NBA player and they’ll give you the stock answer that basketball is a business. But that belies the difficulty of the transition. White was plopped in the middle of an unfamiliar team in the middle of a season.

And it was no longer about whether White was good enough to compete with the other players on the floor. He had established that in San Antonio. But could an all-around glue guy be an all-around glue guy for a championship?

In just his first game as a Celtic, White delivered. He was a member of the closing lineup in a hard-fought win over his home-state Nuggets. He had 16 points, six rebounds, and two assists. “He looks good in green,” Tatum said post-game.

Unselfishness is a skill often praised, especially when it comes to point guards. It’s one of the reasons Boston chased White.

“He’s a guy that only cares about winning, that will do all of the little things, as you can see in some of his stats, defensively, with regard to willingness to put his body on the line, activity, shot challenges, all of those things,” Brad Stevens said after the trade. “And on offense, just by making simple plays and doesn’t need to do anything to be on the highlights to really, really impact winning.”

And while White shot out to a hot start with Boston, his play quickly became unsteady as he tried to adapt to his new surroundings. After scoring in double figures in nine of his first twelve games, he failed to reach that mark for four-straight contests. He was consistently inconsistent in the postseason. His minutes fluctuated along with his impact.

Flash forward to now, with a training camp and full regular season in Boston behind him, the Celtics have reaped the benefits of a more comfortable and integrated White.

“He’s working on confidence and to [know] that he belongs,” said Richard White. “And knowing that he can do these things.”

And his teammates continue to encourage him to be his best self.

“We’re just so much more of a dynamic team when D-White is asserting himself, and being aggressive, and not being passive,” said Tatum after Boston’s Game 2 win over the Hawks. “We’ve talked about him being too passive and looking for guys too much. He’s too good of a guy.”

White’s top-4 plus/minus overshadows Tatum. His defensive impact has him in consideration for an All-Defensive team. He’s exploded for four 20-point, 10-assist games — all since February.

After years of hard work, White’s talent is no longer being hidden behind humility — it’s jumping off the page. No one — not other NBA players, coaches, GMs, or NBA pundits — is writing him off anymore.

Maybe the NBA and its fans are finally learning the lesson that Welsh and White’s other college teammates learned early on. Tommie Anderson, another one of White’s UCCS teammates, still possesses a vivid memory of the shock that ran through his head when he first saw White play.

“He was just this small skinny kid with a fro,” said Anderson. “And I thought, ‘Dang, this is the guy everybody’s been talking about?’ And then I just remember seeing him actually play, and I was like, ‘Oh, okay, now it makes sense.’ He was just a beast.”

Left to right: Tommie Anderson, Latesha Anderson, Hannah White, and Derrick White. All are wearing casual attire.

Left to right: Tommie Anderson, Latesha Anderson, Hannah White, and Derrick White.

Winning is everything for White, and that’s a big reason why he’s so team-oriented. If a basketball player wants success in the upper echelons of the NBA, he probably cares about winning. Enough that, even for someone as mild-mannered as White, his competitive drive spills out in other parts of life.

Try playing a board game or video game with the likely-to-be-All-Defense Celtic and it gets tough and contentious quickly. “If he ever loses, it’s always figuring out why did he lose, not because he was actually beaten,” said Welsh.

White’s competitive drive is so fierce that not even his friends and family can avoid it. Once, he styled himself a winning makeup artist.

“Our wives are pretty close, so we hang out a lot,” said Anderson. “They had this huge idea. I don’t know if they saw it on TikTok or somewhere on social media. They wanted us to do their makeup, and they were going to have a competition [to see] who does it the best.”

White and Anderson traded in their headbands and Nikes for blush and mascara and got to work. Suddenly, a playful game between friends was a high-stakes contest.

Left to right: Latesha Anderson, Hannah White, Derrick White, and Tommie Anderson. All four adults are wearing casual attire.

Left to right: Latesha Anderson, Hannah White, Derrick White, and Tommie Anderson.

“Derrick is getting super competitive about this,” said Anderson. “He starts [saying], like, ‘What does this do? Tell me what this does if I do it to your makeup.’ Getting all into it. We’re doing makeup, and he’s trying to perfect it. He just did not want to lose.”

Unfortunately for White, his questions did not yield the answers he was hoping for.

“I think both of our wives said that each one of us did better,” said Anderson. “So, of course, he was pissed. He’s like, ‘There’s no way. Mine is better than this s***.’ And, of course, he got mad because he wanted to win.”

If it doesn’t involve playoff-intensity eyeliner application, White keeps it low-key. Maybe too low-key, if you expect NBA players to outwardly acknowledge their success through their wardrobe and appearance.

Hargrove remembered offseason summers in Colorado when White was playing for the Spurs. People back home were starting to ask him for pictures.

“He went out to the bar in a Twitter t-shirt,” Hargrove said. “It was just a big gray t-shirt with the Twitter bird in the middle of it. And I was like, ‘Derrick, we got to change this up.’

Perhaps White knew what he was doing. Those that know him say his sense of humor is dry.

“He’s self-proclaimed that he’s the nicest person that you know,” Welsh said. “He would tell you, ‘I’m the nicest person you know,’ and it’s really hard to argue. Through and through, he’s a good dude. He’s a great friend. He’s always there. He doesn’t ever tarnish any relationships that he has.”

White’s family is his anchor. Last summer, he and his wife Hannah welcomed their child Hendrix in the middle of Boston’s run to the NBA Finals. He missed Game 2 against the Heat to be at their side.

“He went from a little bit nervous about having a kid, which I think every human goes through, to kind of calling into action,” said Josh Repine, White’s roommate from Boulder and close friend. “And, of course, Hannah gave birth right during their playoff run last year, and he’s balancing both. He’s not sleeping. He’s doing whatever it takes for Hendrix. As a friend, it’s cool to look at. I’ve learned a lot from it. It’s pretty inspirational.”

Like he did with every other development in his life, White took on the challenge.

“He’s an awesome dad, and he loves it,” said Welsh. “It’s something that he prides himself on. You can see the way he interacts and the time he spends with his son is super valuable to him. And he and I have chatted a little bit about how he wants Hendrix to recognize him as a basketball player and what that looks like for his career moving forward, which I think is special. You’ll see it in his play. It’s elevating his game. It’s adding to the motivation for him now that he has this little boy’s eyes watching.”

Now, no matter what happens this season, or in any season beyond, White wants to leave a legacy that his son will be proud of. Richard White explained his son’s newfound motivation.

“If you go on a road trip and it doesn’t necessarily go well, you know that you’re going to come home, and somebody’s going to be very happy to see you,” he said. “So, I mean, you kind of struggle, and you come back, and then Hendrix wakes up, and he smiles at his dad, and you kind of forget about all the other things that may or may not have gone well while you were gone.”

White’s even started repping his fatherhood on game days. He showed up to Game 2 of Boston’s series against Atlanta wearing a hoodie with the acronym ‘W.A.S.H.E.D’ across the chest.

“What it stands for is We Are Super Heroes Every Day,” White explained post-game. “It’s called WASHED Dads. It’s a cool little brand. I’m a dad, so shoutout to them.”

That pure love for his son keeps White going, and his kind-hearted nature allows him to get through the most disappointing times in his life. Elliot, White’s friend since age 5, was in town when the Celtics lost in Game 6 to the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. He and his wife Holly had made the trip to Boston to watch White play, but their visit couldn’t have come at a more heartbreaking time for White.

“I was like, you just lost the Warriors in Game 6,” Elliot remembered. “Yeah, we made a trip, but I’m going to give you your space. And he’s like, ‘No, come over to the house. Come meet my baby. Come hang out.’”

So, Elliot and his wife went. If the Celtics had won, the trip would have been an excitement-filled celebration, but after the loss, it could have easily turned into an awkward, silent stay.

Instead, White’s reverted to what matters most. In one of the most disheartening moments of his career to date, White put his family and friends first.

“He just saw the Warriors pick up the trophy in his own [arena],” Elliot said. “He comes home, and the first thing he does is he gives Hendrix a kiss, he gives Hannah a kiss, and he asks how they’re doing. He’s asking Holly about how our trip has been. He’s asking about where we went to dinner.

“This is four hours after Game 6, right? It just goes to show his priorities. And that’s not to say that basketball isn’t a priority because it’s a big one for him, and he’s competitive. But he’s just always going to be my best buddy from five years old growing up.”

Left to right: Reece Elliot and Derrick White as kids. Both are wearing read rain ponchos.

Left to right: Reece Elliot and Derrick White.

White gave his friends a tour of the new house. He made sure they were comfortable.

And then, he reached for the Oreos.

“I was like, ‘When was the last time you had an Oreo?’ He’s like, ‘I haven’t had one since the playoff series.’ And he pulls out this clear jar of, I don’t know, 40, 50, 100 Oreos and just starts smacking. He’s like, ‘Man, those are so freakin’ good.’”

Elliot was stunned.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, do you need to vent? Do you need a shot of tequila? Do you need to go throw something at the wall? Like, what do you need?’” Elliot recollected. “He’s like, ‘I need a frickin’ Oreo.’ I’m like, ‘Alright, man, let’s watch some TV and hang out with Hannah and shoot the shit like old times. So, I think it’s just a good representative of, he’s just a good dude.”

As the Celtics prep for Game 3 of their first-round series with the Hawks, Derrick White has made a name for himself. His 2022-2023 regular season is award-worthy and he’s kicked off the playoffs as Boston’s second-leading scorer.

“I feel like I’ve been here forever even though it’s only been one year,” said White after his 33-point, 10-assist showing on the one-year anniversary of his joining the Celtics. “This year, [I’m] just a lot more settled in. Compared to a year ago today when life kind of just changed in an instant. So, I got to say, I love being here, and it’s just been fun playing with this team.”

White is even earning MVP chants at TD Garden after scoring 26 points and being Trae Young’s key defender in Game 2.

“We talked about it after the game,” Tatum said of White’s MVP chants. “He was like, ‘That’s what it feels like?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’”

For White, reaching this point has been a unique battle in expressing himself. Cut from his middle school basketball team. Overlooked by Division I scouts. Nearly red-shirted at the Division II level. Success always preceded by judgment and adversity.

Time after time, challenge after challenge, White diligently proved the initial judgments wrong. He’s reached inside himself for extra motivation so many times, no one could blame him for developing that special brand of NBA, I’m-The-Guy brashness.

But that isn’t Derrick White. He’s always kept his ego in check while staying sure of himself.

“The person you see on the court with Derrick is who he is off the court,” said Repine. “He’s always smiling. He’s pretty straightforward.”

The simplicity of White’s desires breeds an inability to appreciate everything he brings to the court. NBC Boston’s color commentator Brian Scalabrine noted that, “his personality doesn’t fit how good of a player he is.”

White would rather play a board game and hang out with his friends than go out and party. His friends have to beg him to leave the house. “He could sit there all day if we let him,” said Welsh.

So what? Let the other stars handle the glitz and glamor. Derrick White wants to win, he wants to spend time with his family, and he’ll probably want some Oreos.

“He’s a simple dude. Super kind-hearted. Super genuine,” said Welsh. “And unfortunately, definitely one of the nicest dudes I know.”

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