Who is Derek White? Meet the unheralded NBA playoffs champion for the Celtics

Derrick White doesn’t have the most glamorous name on the Celtics roster.

He doesn’t have the stardom of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum’s All-NBA appearance or even the legacy of veteran role players like Blake Griffin and Al Horford.

But after Saturday night, when White bounced back with 0.1 seconds left to give the Celtics a 104-103 win in Game 6 against the Heat, he made sure his name was remembered along with Boston’s John Havlicek and Larry Bird.

White will also be remembered along with the other player in NBA history who happened to take his team late and was on the verge of being eliminated: Michael Jordan, at The Athletic.

The unannounced star of the 2023 NBA Playoffs hasn’t had a linear rise to this point.

His NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors means he’s made an impact that can be recognized by others.

But the three Division II seasons in college were a far cry from the traditional trajectory in NBA lore.

In the wake of Saturday’s win, White, 28, talked about returning home to play with his son Hendrix, who was born in May 2022, according to MassLive.com.

He proposed to his now wife, Hannah, in September 2020, according to WOAI-TV in San Antonio.

“I am sure [Hendrix] You wouldn’t look at me any differently,” White told reporters, “So that would be great.”

White began his college career by playing three seasons at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, a Division II school where he emerged as the best freshman in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference after averaging 16.9 points per game.

After three years, he transferred to Colorado and sat out the 2015-16 season, and White did not record his first minutes for the program until the following campaign.

This is when he launched his future NBA career.

He was the leading scorer for the Buffaloes (18.1 points, 4.4 assists per game) as they earned a spot in the NIT – where they lost in the first round to UCF. That year, White was the first Colorado player since former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups to have four 30-point games in a season, according to the Buffaloes sports department.

The Spurs selected him in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at 29th overall.

After contributing off the bench his rookie season, White became a regular part of San Antonio’s starting lineup until February 2022, when he was traded to the Celtics.

At that point, White was seen as an emerging star.

Boston sent 2022 Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, in the first round in exchange for 6-foot-4 White.

That trade began the next chapter in White’s emergence.

White started just four games throughout the remainder of the regular season after his arrival in February 2022, but remains a regular part of Boston’s bench, playing at least 30 minutes in three NBA Finals games against the Warriors.

His role carried over and continued to evolve into the 2022-23 regular season, when he started 70 games.

There was also a personal connection to playing for the Celtics, as White revealed on a team podcast last year that his father, Richard White, lived in Boston for the first eight or nine years of his life.

So after White hooked the ball to Marcus Smart, sprinted to the basket and lobbed the ball through the glass into the net on Saturday, Richard began to capture the moment on Twitter.

“Oh my God, this is my son,” Richard wrote.

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