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Tacko Fall: ‘I’m really thankful for all those people who care about me, want to see me do well’

The former UCF center spoke with our Eric Lopez prior to his first regular-season game in Orlando as an NBA player

NBA: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tacko Fall didn’t play in his return to Orlando on Friday night. But that would have just served as the icing.

This marked Fall’s first regular-season game with the Boston Celtics in his adopted hometown, so It meant a lot to him just being in the Amway Center. He had hoped to get called up from the G League in time for this game. Some of his former UCF Knights teammates wanted to know in the days leading up to tip if he’d be out there against the Magic. His mother was in the crowd.

Yeah, it would have been great if Brad Stevens had found a few minutes near the end of Boston’s victory to insert Fall, but that didn’t come to pass despite the best efforts of the throngs of local Fall fans.

But at least he was present. He didn’t even know that would be the case until Thursday as Boston saw its injured frontcourt in dire need of reinforcement, and Fall told Black and Gold Banneret’s Eric Lopez that he was grateful just to have the chance to suit up as a pro in front of his adoring public.

“I pretty much grew up in Orlando, became a man here,” he said. “I’m really fortunate for the opportunity to come and play in front of this crowd again.”

Of course, Tacko’s fandom has exploded far beyond Central Florida; supporters worldwide stuffed the ballot box to get him into next month’s NBA All-Star Game. A handful of players wanted to see him in the game, too.

How Fall deals with the boisterous fanfare that follows him everywhere is one of the topics he delved into with Lopez during his interview prior to Friday’s game.

“I always try to sit back and reflect on that and see how blessed and fortunate I am,” Fall said. “I’m really thankful for all those people that care about me, care about my journey and want to see me do well. I always tell them ‘Thank you,’ and their support doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Other subjects Fall talked about include what it’s been like to bounce back and forth from the Maine Red Claws in the G League and the Celtics where he has improved most as a player since the preseason, the biggest lesson this season has taught him and what he thinks about this year’s UCF team.

To hear Lopez’s full interview with Fall, check out the next edition of the Black and Gold Banneret podcast, which should hit your feeds Wednesday or Thursday.