Exclusive: Boston Reserve Reveals How COVID-19 Impacted The Celtics

Getty Images Tacko Fall and Aaron Nesmith of the Boston Celtics

In his first two seasons in the NBA, Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall has endured life-altering changes — which is typically the norm for most players.

For Fall, however, COVID-19’s changed him in many ways on and off the basketball court. He grew closer with his teammates, and picked up a new hobby, along with a new diet.

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While adding new recipes from Lightlife — a food company owned by Greenleaf Foods, headquartered in Chicago, IL, producing plant-based foods for plant-based diets — Tacko’s now embracing a new flexitarian lifestyle.

“I never tried anything vegan in my life, prior to that. At first, I was kind of skeptical, will this taste good?” Fall asked himself to Heavy.com. “I love food. I want my food to taste really good.”


Tacko Fall Tries Plant-Based Food For The First Time: ‘It Was Dope’

The second-year center decided to give it a chance and find out what Lightlife had to offer.

“They sent over all of the Lightlife products and I tried it, and to my surprise; it was dope,” Fall said. “It was dope. The funny thing is; the first time I cooked it, obviously, it’s not meat so it’s going to be different from ground beef. So, the first time I cooked it — you know when you cook ground beef, the color is darker?

“So I kept cooking it thinking maybe it wasn’t cooked enough, and I think I ended up burning it the first time.”

It took a couple of swings to get it right. But, in the end, for Tacko, it was all worth it.

“After I made it right, it was awesome,” Fall said. “I said ‘that’s pretty good,’ you know. We can move forward. We’ve done a lot of things together and they’ve been great. I’ve tried different recipes and all of them have been dope.”

Even Mama Fall, who recently paid Tacko a visit, incorporated some elements of the plant-based ingredients and added her own spice to it.

“My mom, when she came over, she spent a few months with me and my little brother,” Fall said. “She actually made some food with that, as well.”

Lightlife and the 7-foot-5 center teamed up to create Fall’s own personalized “Tacko” recipe to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.

“Tacko Tuesday” Block Party Tacos

Prior to the start of the 2020-21 campaign, one of the newest hobbies Fall picked up was learning how to play the guitar. When the NBA resumed its 2019-2020 regular season in a Disney World bubble near Orlando, the isolation from the outside world led to extended downtime for players.

It granted Fall an opportunity to pursue something new.

“Since I was a kid, I always wanted to learn how to play instruments,” Fall told Heavy.com. “When the whole COVID thing started, I had started playing the guitar. During quarantine, I would pick it up just to pass the time.”


Tacko Fall On 2020-21 Celtics: ‘A Lot Of Us Have Had COVID’

For Tacko and the Celtics, this season’s drastically different. A demanding schedule has Boston playing nearly every other night, including long road trips, but worse than all, has been the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus that’s plagued the team.

While some fans remain frustrated with how the Celtics — currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings — have performed all season long, Fall says the virus impacted him and his teammates immensely.

“A lot of guys have been out for a while and a lot of us have had COVID,” Fall explained. “I had COVID last year. A lot of my teammates, unfortunately, got hit by it. Either that or they had close contact. So, all throughout the season, we’ve had guys missing. We had to fight through that.”


Tacko Fall’s Outlook On The Celtics: ‘By Playoffs, We Should Be Fine’

Now, Tacko says he isn’t worried about how his team’s fate, and is hopeful for a dramatic turnaround.

“We are still putting things together,” Fall said. “We lost the last two games prior to (Thursday) but before that, we got astride. I feel like we are starting to figure things out and other guys are slowly coming back.

“I think by playoffs, we should be fine.”

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