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Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla left reporters speechless after he was asked a racial question as his team prepared to go into game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. The number-one ranked Celtics won game 1 in a decisive victory over the Mavericks 107-89. During the press conference, Yahoo Sports senior reporter Vincent Goodwill asked how Mazzulla felt about facing another black head coach, Jason Kidd of the Mavericks. “Given the plight sometimes of Black head coaches in the NBA, do you think this is a significant moment? Do you take pride in this? How do you view this, or do you not see it at all?” asked Goodwill.

Mazzulla, however decided to engage the question in a different way. “I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches,” he responded. Mazzulla is Catholic and has openly spoken about his faith. In April, speaking to Sports Spectrum, he spoke about how his faith has helped with his competitive nature. “In the competitive environment that we are in, we are always used to earning something. When you apply that competitive nature to your faith, it creates a lot of, for me, anxiety, stress and like and separation from Christ,” he said. “So when I was able to really go down the road to grace and understanding that I can’t earn it, and I don’t have to be competitive, it’s not a win or loss. It’s an acceptance. That is one of the virtues that we can really show each other in the world today.”

Mazzulla’s response seemed to leave the reporters in a few moments of stunned silence before they moved on to the next question. It’s not the first time he’s responded with a witty reference to his faith. In 2022, he was asked if he’d met members of the Royal Family after they’d attended a game. He responded by asking if the question was in reference to, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph.” When the reporter clarified that it was in reference to the British Royal Family, he said, “I’m only familiar with one Royal Family. I don’t know too much about that one.” Conservative commentator Brandon Tatum said he approved of the way Mazzulla handled the question. “Boston Celtics head coach, Joe Mazulla, continues his strategy of NOT giving in to race baiting reporters,” wrote Tatum on X. Instead, he flipped the script to questioning if the coaches were Christians. The reporter left stunned LOL well done coach!” The Celtics went on to win Game 2 and 3 of the Finals and lead the Dallas Mavericks 3-0 in the NBA Finals.

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