PORT ALLEN — Brandon Bass was attending his newborn daughter’s first doctor’s appointment in December when he received a “Call me ASAP” text message from his agent.
When he called, Bass learned he had been traded from the Orlando Magic to the Boston Celtics for childhood buddy Glen Davis.
Then, in the blink of an eye, his agent had Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge on the line.
“Within three seconds, I knew I was gone,” said Bass, who is in town to host “Brandon Bass Reachback Week,” a three-day effort including basketball camps, a backpack drive and a celebrity bowling event. “I was in shock. They wanted me to leave that day.”
The pre-Christmas curveball proved a blessing for Bass.
In his first season with the Celtics, Bass started 39 of 66 games while averaging career highs of 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 31.7 minutes. He scored a career playoff-high 27 points in a Game 5 victory over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semis, helping the Celtics reach a showdown with Miami for the conference title.
Now, after bouncing between four NBA teams in his first seven seasons, the former Capitol High and LSU star said he believes he has found a home.
Bass signed a three-year, $20 million deal with Boston earlier this month. He could have made more by signing elsewhere.
“I want to leave a legacy,” Bass said. “I’m excited to be part of a team with great history and great pride — a team that’s all about winning.”
Bass would love adding an NBA title to his résumé. But he has already achieved most of the goals he wrote, in permanent ink, on a door at his aunt’s house on North 31st Street. His return for “Reachback Week” aims to show kids from the area they should also dream big.
Bass held the first of three youth camps Tuesday at Devall Middle School, in the community where he lived before his mother died. He will have another Wednesday at Point Coupee Civic Center in New Roads, where he lived with his father for two years. The last camp will be Thursday at Capitol High, where he starred in high school after moving in with his aunt at 11.
Thursday afternoon, Bass will join councilwoman Denise Marcelle for a back-to-school backpack drive at Mary J. Lands Park, followed by the celebrity event at Metro Bowl.
“The whole idea is for me to give them a vision past what they see every day ... a chance to see someone you see on TV up close and personal,” he said.
They could be seeing more of Bass if his play last season was a sign of things to come.
He is only 27, but the three-year contract with Boston puts the seven-year veteran on track to play double-digit NBA seasons. He is already the elder statesman of LSU’s fraternity of active NBA players, taking the place of Shaquille O’Neal this past season.
“I still have big dreams,” Bass said. “I think it’s just the beginning for me.”