The Boston Celtics recalled towering rookie Tacko Fall from the Maine Red Claws for Friday night's game against the New York Knicks at TD Garden.
While he's been splitting time between the two teams, the seven-and-a-half-foot-tall center has captured the imagination of New England sports fans. And the Red Claws, based in Portland, thinks Fall will help them reach new heights in the G-League both on and off the court.
"We've never really had a sensation like this come to Maine," said Red Claws president Dajuan Eubanks. "The fanaticism of him spans New England."
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Friday was the first day of general on-sale for Red Claws 2019-2020 game tickets and Eubanks said the team had a line outside its offices in Portland, with phones ringing almost constantly.
The team is excited about the publicity because it averaged about 85 percent attendance for games last year.
The Red Claws see Fall's stint up north as a chance to return to sell out 2009 inaugural season crowds.
"I think we'll pull people from Boston, north of Boston, New Hampshire as well as Vermont," Eubanks said.
Friday diners at Rivalries, a Portland sports bar, said they'd be excited to see Fall but most did not know who he was.
All of the customers who did, including Matt Bowden of Westbrook, Maine, said Fall is a "huge" win for Portland.
"I got a sneak peak of Tacko at University of Central Florida," Bowden said. "It was awesome, super excited to see him in Portland."
The move will be a big adjustment for Fall as well.
As he revealed in a news conference earlier in the week, this will be his first time experiencing a cold winter.
"It's probably going to be a shock for the first couple of days," he said. "But I'll probably get used to it."