Summer 2024

Celtics' Semi Ojeleye providing playoff spark in Boston

His full name is Jesusemilore Talodabijesu Ojeleye.

Boston Celtics fans know him as Semi.

Selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft by Boston, Semi was the 37th overall pick from SMU. He wasn’t expected to contribute much this year with a stacked roster, and highly-touted first-round pick Jayson Tatum playing the same position.

But you always have to be ready for your bell to ring.

And rang it has in the NBA Playoffs.

After injuries to key players — including highly-touted free agent signing Gordon Hayward, and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving — Ojeleye’s playing time has increased, and he found himself playing important minutes in key situations for a team that would finish with 55 wins and the two-seed in the Eastern Conference.

In the 2018 NBA playoffs, Semi has cemented himself as more than just a second round prospect.

Stepping into the starting lineup in a first round Game 5 matchup against Milwaukee, he was tasked to guard the Bucks’ superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo. In Games 5 and 7 at home in Boston, he showcased his defensive skills by holding the Milwaukee all-star to just 16 points in Game 5 and 22 points in Game 7, both wins for the Celtics as they advanced to the next round.

On Monday night, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semis against Philadelphia, Semi continued to contribute with 22 minutes played and a plus-11 during his time on the floor.

“It’s a blessing,” Semi said after the Celtics beat the Bucks in Game 7. “Only God can put something like this together.”

Semi isn’t one to boast about his performance and the success he’s had. Remaining humble, he simply points people to his Instagram and Twitter pages, where he consistently shares Bible verses to uplift and inspire.

The Celtics and 76ers continue their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup tonight in Game 2 at the TD Garden in Boston.

– Celtics rookie Semi Ojeleye shares Bible verses on Twitter page as source of encouragement
– Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum says he plays for Jesus
– New Boston Celtic Gordon Hayward Says He Plays For The Glory Of God
– Celtics Guard Avery Bradley Honors Late Mother With Every Shot He Takes