Epic Celtics fail at the Vatican?

Red Auerbach must be spinning in his grave. How do you NOT put the pope’s name on the pope’s jersey?

Boston Celtics minority owner James Pallotta was at the Vatican on Wednesday in advance of the Coppa Italia final involving one of his soccer teams. Likely thinking it a fine idea to further relations between the US (OK, the NBA) and the Church, he presented Pope Francis with a Celtics jersey. One problem:

The name on the back of the jersey read THE POPE. For all we know that thing has been sitting in the closet since 1959, when Bill Russell was winning championships, Auerbach was calling the plays and Pope John XXIII was in the papacy.

To Pope Francis’ credit, he accepted the gift:

At least the soccer teams came sufficiently prepared:



The Coppa Italia Final, the championship match in Italy’s top competition, is Sunday and will be contested by Lazio and A.S. Roma. Pallotta is the president of Roma.