SALEM — Teenagers at the Plummer Home for Boys got the thrill of a lifetime yesterday when they were visited by retired Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell and Celtics forward Glen Davis, who played one-on-one basketball with some of the residents.
Davis, who goes by the nickname "Big Baby," and Maxwell, now a sports radio broadcaster, were in Salem for the dedication of a new basketball court that was donated to the Plummer Home. Later, they visited the Boys and Girls Club.
"I remember myself as a young child and I was in the same situation as you with nowhere to turn to," Davis told the Plummer Home residents, as well as a crowd of more than 100, including Plummer Home staff members and their families, TV crews and local officials.
The Plummer Home, founded in 1855, is a group home for up to 16 teenage boys who have a history of abuse and neglect and, in some cases, behavioral issues.
"Oh my God, I'm flipping out right now," said Diarra Pickett, 16, a resident who gave Davis a tour of the house and took pictures of him on his cell phone. "... If Glen Davis from the Celtics was in a place like this, I can for sure just go from here and be something."
From the second he arrived at the Plummer Home just after 11 a.m., Davis — at 6-foot-9 and 290 pounds — was a tornado of playful energy. He launched a basketball at the hoop and missed a few shots before sinking one.
"How y'all doing?" he called out. "It's beautiful scenery. You want to show me around?"
While the crowd waited for Cedric Maxwell to arrive, Davis, 24, toured the group home, followed by a cluster of photographers and television cameras.
He barreled through the rooms — talking to the residents, sampling a handful of fruity cereal, picking up a video game controller to play Xbox, goofing around on the drum set in the music room, making up a song on the spot ("Celtics rock. Yeah. Big Baby, Big Baby"), and challenging a resident to a quick game of pingpong.