During a press conference on Saturday, Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla skillfully redirected a question about the historical representation of Black head coaches in the NBA Finals, choosing to emphasize faith over race.

When asked by Yahoo Sports senior reporter Vincent Goodwill about the significance of having two Black head coaches in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975, Mazzulla, a devout Catholic, responded, “I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches.”

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The unexpected reply initially left the press corps momentarily silent but resonated with many supporters as the video clip circulated on social media.

Chad Hawley, founder of the NEXUS Mountain Network, a Christian social media network, expressed his admiration for Mazzulla’s emphasis on faith over skin color, affirming, “Coach Mazzulla appears to be more proud of his faith than the color of his skin. Me too!”

T.J. Moe, a sports commentator, commended Mazzulla for shifting the focus of the conversation from race to values, remarking, “This dude is now my favorite coach in all of sports. Instead of taking the bait to talk about race senselessly over and over, he shifted the conversation to values.”

The fan account CelticsForum also expressed support for Mazzulla’s stance, declaring, “Joe Mazzulla does not see color/Joe Mazzulla uses his platform to take a stand for Christ/Joe Mazzulla is my coach,” appending the “100%” emoji to emphasize their endorsement.

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