There’s nothing wrong with Derrick White missing a playoff game for the birth of his child


Derrick White is missing Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals so he can see the birth of his first child.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Family is more important than work, even if that work entails trying to even up a playoff series against the Miami Heat.

Ime Udoka told reporters Thursday White was on his way back to Boston. “Came sooner than expected, but we support our guys in that situation,” he said.

White and his partner tried to induce the birth during an off-day. But you know, pregnancies doesn't go according to plan!

Make no mistake: the Celtics will miss White on the court — especially since Marcus Smart is nursing a foot injury. Even if Smart plays Thursday (he’s listed as probable), he likely won’t be at full strength. That means more playing time for Payton Pritchard, whose defensive shortcomings were exposed in Game 1.

White, meanwhile, is a menace.

With Smart out Tuesday, Aaron Nesmith logged 11 unimpressive minutes, where he looked lost on offense. He’s the next guard on the depth chart, unless the Celtics wipe the dust off Nik Stauskas.

White is not a good offensive player, either, but at least his game is NBA caliber. The Celtics are digging too deep into their bench to field a team for playoff games. It’s not sustainable.

But neither is a life in which you bypass personal milestones for professional obligations.

Some fans don’t like to hear this, but most athletes recognize that pro sports is a business. In most cases, loyalty only runs as far as the next winning streak.

Look at how the Celtics treated Isaiah Thomas. He was herculean during the 2017 playoffs, playing through a brutal hip injury and playing one day after his sister died — scoring 33 points in the process.

But a couple of months later, the Celtics traded him for Kyrie Irving, a player who always looks out for himself over the team.

Thomas didn’t attempt to mask his disappointment. “I was hurt just because of everything that I’ve done for them,” he said in a documentary about his recovery from surgery.

White and Thomas are in much different situations, obviously. But the fact remains: players know they are expendable.

That’s not to say being a pro basketball player is the same as working in a cubicle (or these days, on your bed). The Celtics pay White roughly $16 million annually to play for them. He should be back for Game 3. A trip to the NBA Finals is at stake.

But these guys are still human beings, and wanting to see your newborn is a pretty normal thing.

Besides, if White’s absence Thursday is what ultimately prevents the Celtics from advancing, they have bigger problems.