Jared Sullinger joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday, four days after being selected by the Celtics with the 21st pick in the first round of the NBA draft, and said he's looking forward to living his dream of playing in the NBA.
Sullinger, who wore No. 51 in college, will wear No. 7 ("My mom's birthday month") with the Celtics.
The former Ohio State standout was regarded as a lottery pick until reports came out that he had some back issues that could be degenerative.
"Medical school is over," he said. "I [couldn't] care less what people say. I know how I'm feeling. I'm feeling great. I'm just ready to play."
Sullinger insisted he played with "no pain" his last couple of seasons with the Buckeyes, but that didn't stop prospective teams from pressing him about his back.
"Everybody was asking me about it," he said. "But I laughed it off, because if you looked at me in workouts you would think, 'Oh, nothing's wrong with him.' But the MRI showed that I've got a bulging disk. But that's about it."
As for other concerns about his transition to the NBA, Sullinger is eager to prove his detractors wrong.
"Honestly, everything's been going in one year and going out the other. I hardly ever stick with what they say about me," he said. "You hear so much: He's not athletic, he's not tall enough, he's too small for his position, all that stuff. It just goes through one year and out the other. I [couldn't] care less what they say. I'm just ready to play."
Growing up, Sullinger followed all three players who would go on to form Boston's new Big Three, and he's been a fan of the team since the trio united in Boston in 2007.
"When we were growing up we loved watching Paul Pierce play," Sullinger said. "As kids, me and my brothers used to always watch Paul Pierce play basketball. And we used to always watch Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. And then when they all came to the Celtics, I was a Celtics fan. I'm not going to lie to you, I jumped on the bandwagon."
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