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If you’ve been a faithful watcher of the Boston Celtics this season, you know that head coach Joe Mazzulla leads the league in GCPM — gum chews per minute. Early in the season, Mazzula, then the interim coach, chomped gum like he was in some sort of speed-chewing contest.

Only die-hard fans have come to realize “Bazooka Joe” no longer exists. Yes, Mazzulla stopped chewing. On Friday, explained his reason for it.

The Boston Celtics have officially dropped the ‘interim’ label from Joe Mazzulla

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla directs his team during the second half at TD Garden on January 11, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts.
| Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

Mazzulla earned the right to be the Celtics new head coach. All season, he’s been labeled the interim head coach. He replaced Ime Udoka, who was given a one-year suspension by the team for multiple violations of team policy. Last week, the Celtics dropped the interim label after Mazzulla guided the Celtics to the best record in the NBA at the All-Star break.

Mazzulla, 34, will be the head coach of Team Giannis on Sunday in the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Mazzulla deflected much of the team’s success this year to the players and their camaraderie in the locker room.

“This is one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been in,” Mazzulla said, per ESPN. “It’s very easy to be confident when you have the group of people and the character that we have and the group of players that we have. Because the organization is aligned very well, it’s very easy because we’re all on the same page that winning is the most important thing. Just very grateful for that.”

The Celtics are 42-17 and have held the best record in the league for much of the season.

Mazzulla explained why he stopped chewing gum during games

Early in the year, it was a given that Mazzulla would be on the sideline chomp, chomp, chomping away on his gum. It appeared it might be some sort of nervous habit, but Friday on SiriusXM Radio, Mazzulla said he hadn’t chewed gum in the last 20 days.

“I haven’t chewed gum in the last 20 games, and no one has said a word,” Mazzulla said. “No one has noticed it.”

Believe me, Celtics fans noticed. Mazzulla’s gum chewing put everyone in Boston on edge. It was tough to watch a coach who looked like a nervous wreck on the bench. Apparently, there were no nerves at all.

He explained why he suddenly stopped all that chewing.

“I’m changing up my breathing patterns, trying to just work on my focus and awareness during the game,” Mazzulla said. “I felt like the gum chewing was messing up my heart rate variability, and I wasn’t getting the breaths that I needed to be as focused as I was. So it was more of a crutch than it was positive. So I completely eliminated it.”

There you have it, Celtics fans.


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