In the void left by Bill Belichick, Joe Mazzulla’s introversion has grown to fit the situation. No, I’m not talking about the Boston Celtics giving the New England region a leader they desperately need. Mazzulla is the gruff head coach of a major professional franchise, which the affable Jerod Mayo is not.
After a year in which he proved his qualifications, background, and coaching acumen, although his readiness was questioned, Mazzulla has chosen a combative approach to his league-mandated media responsibilities. Unless you ask him about the city, then he’s a geyser.
Mazzulla’s favorite movie is almost the only time you’ll get a positive reaction from him that isn’t related to the details of a Celtics‘ victory. Mazzulla can be downright indignant at times, especially when it involves heights.
He may not be as dry as the old William Belichick, but he has a similar media-averse attitude. Answering tough questions is the worst part of anyone’s job. Imagine having to do it every day. On closer inspection, Mazzulla’s demeanor is less idiotic and more awkward.
Belichick mastered the art of talkative minimalism. „On to Cincinnati“ will likely be etched on his tombstone one day. He would say as little as possible unless he decided the question was suffice. Mazzulla, on the other hand, behaves as though he’s lifting weights with the tension of a bodybuilder.
After Boston wiped out the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of their semifinal series last May, Mazzulla ended his press conference with a sarcastic remark, asking if anyone was interested in the adjustments he made.
To find the topics that really matter to Mazzulla, you have to push and prod. After a win over the San Antonio Spurs, he proactively addressed that he won’t take any questions about Victor Wembanyama. But when a reporter asked him about Pascal Siakam’s transfer to the Indiana Pacers, Mazzulla abruptly interrupted the question.
„Save the rest of the question. I actually don’t care,“ Mazzulla interrupted.
In early November, Mazzulla told the media that he doesn’t care how he’s perceived after rejecting a call in the final minutes of a bloody victory over the Raptors.
He loves the new Patriots coach, though. „He has my support, and I can’t wait to go sit down with him and just learn from him,“ Mazzulla said on Wednesday.
Buddy, pick a lane. Half the time, Mazzulla oscillates between jokes, sarcasm, and irritation – so at least he has the necessary range.
No one would mistake Mazzulla for a coach who has it all figured out, which is why his arrogance can be even more grating. But his pronounced hostility towards reporters gives off a very Belichickian vibe. Boston sports media can be tough, and Mazzulla is trying to be tougher. Luckily for him, he’s at the top of the world. He’s leading a Celtics team that threatens to become the top team in the East.