Al Horford’s Father Sends Vital Message After Blockbuster Deal

Getty Images Having played three seasons with the franchise, Al Horford is returning to the Boston Celtics

In the wake of news surrounding veteran Al Horford reuniting with the Boston Celtics —  via a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder — former NBA center, and father of the four-time All-Star, Tito Horford, had a strong message to relay to his son.

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Horford Sr., who played two seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1988-90 before playing out the rest of his professional career overseas, welcomed the news of Al heading back to the Celtics with plenty of enthusiasm on his social media’s Instagram account. Horford was shipped alongside Thunder prospect Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick to Boston in exchange for veteran point guard Kemba Walker, the 16th pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and a 2025 second-rounder.

Following a series of celebratory posts over the past couple of days, Tito initially responded to the news by posting an old picture of himself donning Horford’s Celtics traditional green-and-white road uniform while taking in a game at TD Garden. However, Tito’s second reactionary post on IG was the one that stood out most.

Tito Horford to Celtics’ Al Horford: ‘I Got Your Back Son’

Horford’s photo — which is a shot of Al and Tito standing outside of the Celtics locker room at TD Garden — is captioned “I got your back son.”

It’s a touching post from a guy who’s not only continued to follow his son’s 14+ year NBA career since its inception with the Atlanta Hawks but has also expressed his support for his son to the national public. Throughout 2016-19, you would often see Tito in the stands cheering on Al and the Celtics at TD Garden, and sometimes when the team was on the road, especially in the postseason, you could spot Tito screaming from the stands.

Expectations for Al Horford, 2021-22 Celtics

Now, as Al heads toward his second stint with the Celtics nearly five years removed from when Danny Ainge, then, the team president of basketball operations inked Horford to a four-year, max deal in 2016, Tito understands the kind of pressure that comes with returning to a city like Boston.

I’m sure both recognized the vast difference between playing in cities like Boston and Philadelphia in contrast to up-and-coming Oklahoma City. Playing for a contender, there’s (obviously) a lot more at stake.

The criticism that oftentimes comes with high expectations is a given and Horford certainly didn’t escape the city’s skepticism, at times during 2018-19 from local analysts and radio personalities asking for better production. All in all, expectations surrounding 35-year-old Horford reuniting with a pair of All-Stars that blossomed in Al’s absence don’t level up to where they stood in 2019. That should be a given.

However, newfound expectations for how Al will fit in with the 2021-22 Celtics moving forward will almost always vary on the given critic. Either way, Tito let it be known, as a friendly reminder to his son that he’s got his back through it all, no matter what.

In his latest IG post, Sunday — which is a solo shot of his son pumping his fist wearing a Celtics white-and-green home jersey — Tito, fittingly, on Father’s Day, captioned it, “Let’s Go Celtics.”