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Al Horford

Al Horford becomes first Dominican to win NBA title

Al Horford helped Celtics win record 18th NBA crown

Boston Celtics center Al Horford walked off the court and raised both arms in triumph Monday night at TD Garden. As the veteran star from the Dominican Republic checked out of Game 5 of the NBA Finals with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter, he received a standing ovation and a loud roar from the sellout crowd.

The Celtics overpowered the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 to seal the franchise’s NBA record 18th title and the first by a native of the Dominican Republic.

Horford raced to his family to share this special moment with them. His two daughters jumped onto his arms while carrying miniature Dominican Republic flags. Horford secured his title two years after becoming the first native of his island to appear in the NBA Finals.

“It’s something that’s very special to me,” Horford said of making Dominican history. “The glory I give to God because God has put me in this position, and I’m very clear on that. This is for my family. That’s the support that has always been with me.

“And also to the people of the Dominican Republic, because I understand that I have a lot of people there who love me and follow me and have always been with me.”

Al Horford: ‘Gloria a Dios’

With his father Tito, a former NBA player, in attendance, the native of Puerto Plata grabbed the Larry O’Brien Trophy off the table and lifted it as the crowd celebrated.

“It’s been long,” Horford said after becoming the first Dominican to win an NBA title. “A lot of hard work, but I’m so proud to be a part of this team, and that it happened now.”

Then he gave glory to God in his native Spanish. It had been 16 years on Monday since the Celtics won their 17th NBA championship title, matching their rival Los Angeles Lakers. Most Celtic and NBA fans remember what the Hall of Fame great Kevin Garnett said after he won his first NBA championship. 

“Anything’s possible!,” Garnett screamed at the top of his lungs 16 years earlier. The Big Ticket is right.

Horford scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals Monday. Big Al also was 2-of-3 from behind the arc, making him the all-time leader in 3-point percentage in the NBA Finals history, according to StatMuse.

After 17 seasons, 186 career playoff games, and two stints with the Celtics, Horford joined an elite group of big men like Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Robert Parish and Garnett who helped bring an NBA championship to the city of Boston.

Disbelief in Boston

“I can’t believe it, I still can’t believe it,” he said. “This is just how I pictured it. Here at the Garden, with our fans, everybody together, this is just how I saw it. Eight years ago, this is how I saw it eight years ago.”

Small forward Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 31 points. Shooting guard Jaylen Brown was awarded the NBA Finals Bill Russell Most Valuable Player trophy.


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There’s not one person that would say anything bad about Horford. The energy he displayed on the court. His leadership in between timeouts and in the huddle. The two-time NCAA champion’s character was impeccable to the Celtics’ postseason run.

The Celtics finished 16-3 in the NBA playoffs. Their three losses came by the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Mavericks. 

“When I became his teammate it was like one of the ultimate goals of this season,” Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday said of Horford. “Knowing the type of person Al is, knowing the leader that he is, even off the court the father that he is. Just an all around great person and great human. I’d run through a brick wall for him.”

Horford brought his Platano Power to the NBA for 17 years. Though, what could the NBA champion’s future look like after this season. 

A fiesta awaits Horford in Boston and in his home country of the Dominican Republic. 

“I feel very proud to represent all of the Dominicans,” he said. “Not only there but in the world I know there are people in different places like Europe, here in the United States, especially the Dominicans here in Boston who have been supportive. Lawrence, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, those areas are loved.”

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