Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics was in Washington, D.C., for Sept. 11, 2001, when one of the hijacked airliners slammed into the Pentagon.
And he was in Boston on Monday when another act of terror ripped apart that city.
It is an experience, he said, that he hopes people never have to get used to.
“That would be a problem if that ever happens,” Green said.
Green and the rest of his Celtic teammates were in Toronto Wednesday to conclude the 2012-13 NBA season against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.
It was the Celtics’ first game since Monday’s mayhem.
Their scheduled home contest on Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers was cancelled out of respect to the victims of the bomb blasts that ripped through the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Boston head coach Doc Rivers was reflective when asked what the last 48 hours has been like for his team.
“Listen, I don’t think you have to be a basketball player or anything, you don’t even have to be from Boston or from the United States,” he said. “When something like that happens I think it does have an affect on everyone because it threatens our safety and our freedom to gather as a group. And that’s part of what makes us human.”
Before the game started, as a tribute to those killed and maimed on Monday, both the Raptors and the Celtics, along with the coaches, gathered in a large circle at mid-court.
“Tonight we are all Boston fans,” proclaimed Herbie Kuhn, the Raptors’ long-time public address announcer, which drew a warm round of applause from the close-to-capacity gathering on hand.
A moment of silence followed after which Neil Diamond’s anthem, Sweet Caroline – the song that is played during the eighth inning of every Boston Red Sox home game – was spun as the Celtics’ starting lineup was being introduced.
The world of sports has done what it can in recent days to try to show support for the victims of Monday’s attack.
Tuesday night in Cleveland, the Red Sox baseball team put together a jersey with No. 617 on the back – Boston’s Area code – surrounded by the words “Boston Strong” and hung it in the dugout as they played.
In New York, the Yankees – the long-time arch rival of the Red Sox – played Sweet Caroline during the third inning of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium.
Green, a starting forward for the Celtics, said before Wednesday’s game he couldn’t help but think back to the events of 9/11 when Monday’s bombs went off.
“It’s not like I know better how to get through this a lot quicker,” said the soft-spoken athlete. “But I’ve been through what they call terrorist attacks.
“As a city, as a nation, we’ll figure out ways how to get past it and help each other to get past it. That’s all you can do at this point.”
Green said he has spent the last couple of days reflecting on what happened, trying to clear his mind. In the end, he said just “playing again for Boston” might just be the best tonic for those still struggling in the aftermath of the attack.
Rivers lives just blocks away from the downtown Boston finish line of the famed marathon.
As was his habit over the years when the Celtics happened to be in town at the same time as the race, Rivers was on his way to the finish line area when the bombs exploded.
Instead of witnessing the celebration of exhausted, elated, athletes completing a marathon, he found himself wandering in the aftermath of a deadly bomb blast. He described it as being an “eyewitness to panic”
“And then I also witnessed … some great things too,” Rivers added. “There’s a lot of people just taking charge of their city. And I thought that was awesome.”