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    Celtics Reserve’s Big Play Delivers On The Floor, In The Community


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    Grant Williams of the Celtics competes for a loose ball against Draymond Green #23 of the Warriors

    Before Grant Williams’ career-best 20-point performance helped seal a 132-123 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder last month, which capped off a perfect 4-0 west-coast road trip, Williams and the Celtics assisted 13 local Black-owned businesses.

    Williams teamed up with the NAACP, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and Vistaprint to reward $25,000 donations to small businesses in the community as a part of the Power Forward Small Business program. Applicants who made less than $100,000 of revenue in the past two years qualified for the program.

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    Grant, his teammate Aaron Nesmith, and the Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens surprised the 13 lucky recipients with an in-person or virtual visit.


    Kashawna Harling’s ‘Paws & Puurfection’

    Kashawna Harling of Malden, MA, dreamed of launching her own business. Until 2020, amidst the COVID-19 shutdown, Harling never envisioned herself committing to the beginning stages of a local start-up, but that’s what happened in Spring 2020.

    “I love dogs, and I just wanted to kind of open up something that had to do with pets, and I’d been kind of toying with the idea for a few years,” Harling told Heavy.com. “And, when we went down, and everything closed — I have two dogs, two cats — we had such a hard time getting things just because everybody was trying to go. So, it was all on backorder. We just figured, well, we have the time to kind of develop it; why don’t we try to get a pet store here?”

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    It was an idea that inspired the “Paws & Purrfection Company.”

    “We opened the doors in August 2020, at the end of August, and it was really slow going at first,” Harling explained. “But, we’ve been just kind of going hard trying to get our name out there. So, we definitely have our little client base now and our grooming base. So, I’m happy.”

    Opening the doors to other respective pet owners in her area, Harling searched for locations in the Malden area that was available for rent.

    “I wanted someplace in Malden that could be kind of local,” Harling said. “So, that was kind of the idea, and then I just started looking around. I couldn’t find things for a while. So, at first, a lot of people had things closed, but they weren’t selling or renting or anything. And then, finally, we got a spot that’s like five minutes from our house. It was like an old preschool, and it was just a little baby spot, but it was open, and I went for a bid.”


    Celtics’ Brad Stevens, ‘Doing Our Part’

    Harling was a part of the second group of grant recipients, which extended beyond the Boston area to Western Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

    “All the people that are entrepreneurs, following their passion and making this a better community to live in; we want to be a part of supporting them,” Stevens said, per WHDH. “We want to be a part of doing our part in that.”

    As for his play on the floor, Grant delivered 16 points, two blocks in the Celtics’ 144-102 beating against the Washington Wizards. Averaging career-highs in points (7.9), rebounds (3.5) per game, and field-goal percentage (48.1%), including 41.8% from behind the 3-point arc, 2021-22’s turning out to be the best campaign of his three-year career in Boston.

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