Boston Celtics discussing outdoor game at Fenway Park

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Fresh off the success of last week's NHL Winter Classic in Foxborough, the Boston Celtics say they have had cursory conversations about the team playing an outdoor NBA game at Fenway Park.

Celtics president Rich Gotham told The Boston Globe on Monday that he has talked about the possibility withBoston Red Soxpresident Sam Kennedy.

"I've gotten into it. I really like the idea," Gotham told the Globe. "I think if you can find a way to sort of differentiate the game and make it fun for fans, that's a great thing. And the Winter Classic certainly does that.

"Even when Fenway stages certain events, like football games, it just makes it more special for people involved and the fans. I think if you can do it, great. At the same time, my job requires me to be pragmatic, so you'd need to look at the hurdles."

Gotham said the possibility of the Celtics playing at the baseball stadium came up a few years ago, but came up again after recent events, including the Winter Classic and the Notre Dame-Boston College football game, which was played at Fenway this past season.

Last week, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had heard the Celtics might, someday, take one of their games outdoors too.

The biggest obstacles are the weather and scheduling, Gotham said. The Celtics can't play basketball outside during the winter. The best times, weather-wise, for the team to play outside in Boston are probably late October or early April. Those dates could conflict with the Red Sox, who open their season in April and could be playing in the postseason in October.

The NBA's regular season traditionally opens around Halloween and ends in late April.

A preseason game, which could be canceled with no real effect on the regular season if the weather acts up, could be scheduled. But Gotham said he prefers a game to be "a really big event" and there would be more at stake with a regular-season game.

It would not be the first time an NBA game was played outside. The Phoenix Suns played preseason outdoor games from 2008 to 2010 in a tennis stadium in Palm Springs, California. Also, in 2011 and 2012, four college basketball games were played on aircraft carriers, but condensation on some of those courts made the games a safety hazard.

Celtics center Tyler Zeller played for North Carolina when the Tar Heels played in the first game on an aircraft carrier in November 2011.

"The first three or four minutes of the game were weird, just because you're outside," Zeller told The Globe. "But once the game goes on, you kind of get used to it, and it became pretty normal. It was an awesome experience."