Al Horford Shared Special Moment With Celtics Fans In Final Moments of Win

Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (no. 42) receives a loud ovation during the fourth quarter of Boston's championship-clinching Game 5 win in the NBA Finals on Monday night at TD Garden.
Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (no. 42) receives a loud ovation during the fourth quarter of Boston's championship-clinching Game 5 win in the NBA Finals on Monday night at TD Garden. / Screengrab Twitter @NBA
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Monday night was special for Al Horford and the Boston Celtics, who, with a 106-88 win over the Dallas Mavericks, secured their 18th NBA championship victory, the most of any franchise in league history.

The Finals win was also a historic one for Horford, who became the first Dominican-born player in NBA history to win a championship. But the title was special to Horford for another reason, too.

Drafted into the league back in 2007, Horford, 38, had played 17 NBA regular seasons and more playoff games in league history than any other player without winning a title before the TD Garden game clock struck zero on Monday night.

In other words, an NBA title was a long time coming for the University of Florida product, who shared a special moment with Celtics fans after he checked out of the game with 2:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, and an NBA Finals win imminent.

As Celtics public address announcer Eddie Palladino excitedly yelled Horford's name into the microphone, the veteran forward raised his arms in front of the TD Garden crowd, which rose to its feet and gave him a standing ovation.

ESPN's Mike Breen put a bow on the moment with a perfect call, saying that Horford has "waited 17 years for his NBA championship."

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics won a franchise-best 18th NBA title on Monday.
Boston fans! Click the photo or here to to order Sports Illustrated's NBA championship digital commemorative issue. / Elsa/Getty Images

Perhaps no one summed it up better than Horford's teammate and NBA Finals MVP Jaylen Brown, though.

"Nobody deserved it more than Al," Brown said. "He's been a great not just leader on the court but off the court as well. ... It's been an honor to be by his side. And Al Horford is a real-life legend and hero. It's been great to be his teammate."

As for Horford? He was simply grateful that his long-awaited NBA title happened while he was with the Celtics.

"Man, I'll never forget what [former Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge told me in that meeting," Horford said. "He said, 'You can win championships in many places, but there's nothing like winning in Boston. Nothing like winning as a Celtic.'"


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Tim Capurso

TIM CAPURSO

Tim Capurso is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. Prior to joining SI in November 2023, he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, college football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Capurso grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.