Catching Up With Former Celtics Player Brian Scalabrine

Scalabrine prepares to play local fans one-on-one.

Brian ScalabrineBrian Scalabrine photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

Former Celtics player Brian Scalabrine says he doesn’t typically respond to irritating fans, but this time he couldn’t resist. Last month, someone called in to The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show and made this claim: “I’d smoke Scal one-on-one. He can’t play.” Scalabrine, who won a championship with Boston in 2008, would never be mistaken for an NBA superstar. But he did spend a decade in the league. “Let’s settle this once and for all,” Scalabrine remembers thinking about that caller.

Toucher & Rich co-hosts Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, who know a great bit when they see one, were happy to oblige. And thus, the “Toucher & Rich One-on-One Scallenge” was born. Over the last few weeks, in lieu of in-person auditions, people have been sending in personal highlight videos. On Wednesday, three finalists will face Scalabrine one-on-one.

Admittedly, he doesn’t expect much of a challenge in the games, which will be played to 11 with a 10-second shot clock. “It shows how delusional the public is about how good NBA players are,” said Scalabrine, who now lives in Seattle and works part-time as a commentator for Comcast SportsNet New England. “People are not factoring in the size of the human beings out there and the force at which they move.”

After all, the 34-year-old Scalabrine is 6-foot-9. “I might be one of the worst in the NBA, but the normal public will still lose,” he said. “They don’t factor in the size. I guarded Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in practice. You can’t be slow. You have to be able to move your feet.”

Make no mistake though: Scalabrine, who retired from the NBA last year, loves the idea of the contest. Hell, it gives him a chance to interact with fans and play more basketball. Not that he hasn’t been enjoying his new life as a member of the media.

“The transition has been great,” he said. “A lot of that, I think, is because I was in the locker room with the Celtics. Doc [Rivers] coached me. When it comes to relationships with former teammates, it’s made it so much easier.

“I really like covering guys I used to play with, [and] a coach I used to play for. I root for them to win. I want them to win. I don’t go home and lose sleep when they lose, but I do want them to win.”

He also plans on winning the “Scallenge.” His foes, he said, may be in for a rude awakening.

“It’s like fighting Mike Tyson,” Scalabrine joked. “Until you feel that first punch, you don’t know what you’re in for.”