Q&A: Anna Horford on her brother's success, Boston radio hosts and Draymond Green
As Al Horford continues his stellar first season in Boston, his sister Anna has carved out her own niche on social media. The 24-year-old Michigan resident has become one of the Celtics' biggest fans, and her unfiltered opinion and blunt talk has turned her into a cult hero. SI's Andy Gray caught up with Anna to discuss the playoffs, Boson radio hosts and her issues with Draymond Green. Be sure to follow Anna on Twitter and Instagram.
SI: Let's start with the basics. How old are you, where do you live and what do you?
Anna Horford: I’m 24, and right now I currently live in East Lansing, Michigan. Our family is from Grand Ledge, Michigan, which is just west of Lansing. And our little sister and brother still live there. I work in wealth management.
SI: And you grew up with Al, correct?
Horford: Yes. He began living with us full time when he came here for high school. We all went to Grand Ledge High School. But, growing up, he would come and visit. He was born in the Dominican Republic and he’d come visit us for summers and for holidays and for things like that, and then moved in full-time when he started high school.
SI: It seems like your brother is fairly laid back and you are a little more excitable. Is that accurate? Or is that just the persona he’s trying to show everyone, but in private he gets fired up like you do?
Horford: We are very different. For me, I’m more external about things. Al’s more internal about things. So, he’s got that fire and that passion, but he’s going to keep his composure. And I’m like so not like that. I will say what I’m feeling, I’ll yell, I’ll scream, I’ll air my opinions. And Al’s just a little bit more– I don’t know –I mean guess you kind of have to be more professional about it. And eventually, I mean, you’ll kind of saw it in Game 5 when he was flexing at the camera and getting hype. He’s usually so in the moment that he’s focused on the next move or just winning the game. So he doesn’t let that distract him at all. But for me, being a fan, I kind of go crazy.
SI: Your Draymond Green tweet got a lot of attention. Did you expect the reaction it got?
Horford: Now we’re a part of this Boston team, right. We’re with the Celtics. So I’m going to stand up for these guys. I’m going to defend not just Al but everyone on the team, because I mean we’re a family. So I’m going to have their backs no matter what. And I think it was just like so funny and hypocritical that that was coming from Draymond Green of all people. Especially with his track record.
SI: He’s a Michigan person, also. Did you ever have any run-ins with Draymond?
Horford: My brother John did, playing for Michigan and Draymond played for State. So we kind of had that rivalry. I’ve never really been a huge Draymond fan. I think he’s kind of a douche. He was just here in East Lansing last summer, and he got arrested for punching someone in the face. So, that’s just not the kind of player or person that I care for at all.
SI: Another minor controversy involved Boston radio hosts Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti. They gave Al a hard time because he missed a game after the birth of his daughter. What did you think of that whole incident?
Horford: Yeah, my first thought was, 'Dude, you wouldn’t miss a game for the birth of your child?' You know, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and these guys are humans and family comes first, always. So I was just kind of surprised and taken aback that someone would have such strong feelings about him missing one game so early in the season for the birth of his daughter. That’s insane to me. So, like I said, I don’t hold back. And I didn’t even know who Mike Felger was, I don’t live in Boston so I don’t listen to his garbage his show. So I just kind of was just like whoever this dude is, you know, f*** him.
SI: Now that a few months have passed, do you still say F him? Or have you let it go?
Horford: The guy clearly says a lot of things for ratings, and I guess that’s just the kind of person he is. Do I necessarily respect that? No. But I mean, I guess he’s got to do what he’s got to do to keep his show exciting and entertaining. I’m not about that negativity. It doesn’t even interest me. I’m so surprised that so many people actually tune into a show where someone’s just spewing negativity.
SI: Your brother is one of those players who does a lot of small things well and his value doesn't always come across on the stat sheet. As a result, he's taken some criticism, especially in light of his salary. Is that fair?
Horford: That’s not only a radio host thing–I feel like that’s sort of a thing for a lot of fans. They look at the box score, points and what not, and they’re not really watching the game, paying attention to all the little things that are going on on the floor. So yeah, I don’t know. If you know basketball, you know the value that Al brings to the team. And, so I do feel like he still does get criticized. I mean, he’s really showed up in the playoffs, that’s kind of shut a lot of people up. But, you’re always going to be criticized. I know something Al doesn’t pay attention to. He doesn’t look at social media. He doesn’t read that stuff. Because he doesn’t need that negativity.
SI: Does he ever give you a hard time, because you’re sort of his mouthpiece in some ways?
Horford: No. I mean, we’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about social media. And I think he approves. We’re always going to have each other’s backs. And I try not to cross any lines too badly. But he’s been really cool about it. And, like I said, we’re all really supportive of each other.
SI: I found a fun tweet from last year about LeBron James throwing tantrums. Are you a LeBron fan? Have you had a chance to meet him?
Horford: I have not met LeBron. I think LeBron is the best player in the world right now. He’s fantastic. But we have had our rivalries playing the Cavs the past few postseasons with the Hawks. And so that hasn’t been fun. I guess Cavs Twitter doesn’t like me very much, just because I’ve been very vocal and opinionated. Especially during those series. I mean, I really disliked Matthew Dellavedova, especially after he tried to intentionally hurt Al. So I did air a lot of opinions that were not popular among the Cleveland fans. But I respect LeBron’s game, and I guess I’ll leave it at that.
SI: Toronto fans are probably the NBA's most passionate. Have you had any encounters with them?
Horford: Yeah, I kind of did this season a little bit more so than past seasons. There fans would just come at me on Twitter about just Al and stuff. I had a few comebacks for them. No one’s going to scare or intimidate me. I’m always going to say what I’m feeling. Yeah, I made a tweet about them like going off to like bottle maple syrup or like go pet their mouse, and they didn’t really like that very much. It was obviously a joke; they took it kind of far, and didn’t appreciate that.
SI: Your brother played in Atlanta before coming to Boston. Are you noticing a difference between the fans and how passionate they are about basketball?
Horford: Yes. Al was really loved in Atlanta. He was their franchise player for a long time, and they were always really great to him there. So the main difference just being that Atlanta’s not really known as a sports city and Boston is. So, I think with Atlanta you’ve kind of got this melting pot of people coming from all over the place so no one has like this true allegiance to a lot of their teams. In Boston the loyalty is just unmatched. It’s kind of insane. I think that’s the biggest difference. And that’s something Al obviously has known as well–I know he didn’t like playing in Boston when he wasn’t playing for Boston.
SI: How do you watch the games. Are you with friends? Do you watch alone? Do you have superstitions?
Horford: I usually watch it with my siblings -- Maria our younger sister, Josh, our younger brother, and then John when he’s around. We usually watch the games together. I'm not really superstitious, but there’s a lot of yelling at the TV. There’s a lot that goes on when we go to the games–like we were in Chicago for that series–and, yeah, we tend to be loud and obnoxious together. People definitely stare. We really get it into it. So, yeah. It’s always a good time, though.
SI: Have you ever had any rude confrontations or people yelling at you or anything like that?
Horford: Not in person so much. I just feel like it’s usually because we’re with our dad who is like 7-foot-1, 270, so people don’t really mess with us when he’s standing right there, because he’ll just stand up and turn around and look at them, and they’ll shut up.
SI: Did you ever visit Al while he was in college at Florida? And if so, did you get to hang out with Joakim Noah?
Horford: Yeah. I actually had a few trips down there. I was younger though–Al’s about six years older than me. I remember we went to Universal, went out to eat with Al and his teammates, went to his dorm room which–when you’re bring your 13-year-old sister to your door room as you’re like trying to hide what’s actually going on in there. I remember walking through the door. But yeah, I remember hanging out with all those guys. Jo was quite the character. And it was always a good time. They were having fun, always in a really good mood, always joking with each other and what not.
SI: So I take it 13-year-old Anna never had a crush on college Joakim Noah?
Horford: No, not really. So as long as I can remember, teammates have always kind of been off limits.