Matthew Swanick / Staff Photographer

By: Cullen McIntyre, Sports Editor

Basketball fans in Portland are getting a once in a lifetime experience this season, as 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall joins the team on a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics. Fall, who was signed by the Boston Celtics after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, will now appear for the Celtics G-League affiliate in Portland.

Fall, born in Senegal, did not begin playing basketball until he was 16 when he moved to the United States. He went on to play for the University of Central Florida, making headlines for his performances at March Madness, the yearly college basketball playoffs. Fall is one of the tallest living humans, and is currently the tallest ever National Basketball Association (NBA) player in shoes at 7-foot-7.

He appeared for the Celtics this summer at the 2019 NBA Summer League, averaging 12.6 minutes per game across the five games played. Fall averaged 7.2 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks per game.

His impact at the Summer League earned him a contract to fight for the final roster spot on the Celtics, where he would look to prove himself in the preseason games. Fall took his chances, and was given a two-way contract with the Celtics.

According to the NBA G-League website, a two-way contract is “NBA teams may have up to two players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Two-Way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league. Only players in their fourth NBA season or earlier are able to sign Two-Way Contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.”

The G-League experience is becoming common for many players across the NBA, as teams use their affiliates to give experience to talented players who are not yet ready to compete at the NBA level. The Celtics will certainly hope for Fall’s development to continue, as his unique height and wingspan will fill the seats at the Portland Expo this season.

The G-League season ranges from mid-November to late-March. The Red Claws finished the 2018-19 season with a 19-31 record, and fifth in the Atlantic Division. The most notable player was PJ Dozier, who averaged 21.0 points per game as well as 6.6 assists and rebounds per game. Dozier is a great example of the G-League development, as he know fills a roster spot for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA.

With the Celtics recent purchase of the Red Claws, news that was heavily overshadowed by the announcement of Fall coming to Maine, there is no coincidence that the 23-year-old celebrity of Celtic’s is now the face of the recently acquired team. The Celtics will seemingly look to further the development of Fall, alongside guard Tremont Waters who occupies the second two-way contract with Boston.

Fall was the highlight of the Celtics preseason, with opposing fans joining in on the cheers as he checked into each game. His contract only allows for him to spend 45-days with the Celtics during the NBA season, meaning he will spend the majority of the season playing for the Red Claws in Portland.

The Red Claws can expect for many sellouts this season, as the Celtics fans will come in masses to see a cult favorite in Fall. His stardom is something that Portland has never seen in an athlete, as the chance to see him play has already drawn fans from around New England to purchase tickets to make the trip to see him play.

The vastly wanted chance to see Fall play has drawn NBC Sports Boston to televise 24 of the Red Claws 50 games this season, which is a large rise in coverage compared to the five games the station televised last season. The Red Claws publicity from Fall could see the station add even more games, as the first televised game will be the team’s home opener on November 15th.



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