Omar Rodriguez has never been to Boston. But he’s as big of a Celtics fan as there is.

When Rodriguez, of El Paso, learned that the Celtics would be playing “close” to him — El Paso to Dallas is a nearly 10-hour drive — he couldn’t pass up the chance to watch the team he’s loved since the 1980s.

“I started watching basketball and I enjoyed watching Larry Bird, Kevin McHale playing the Lakers, you know, the Pistons — and that’s how I became a Celtics fan,” he told GBH News outside of the American Airlines Center in Dallas before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week.

Boston may be the belly of the beast for Celtics fans. But even on the road in the NBA Finals, they always have a few faithful who are happy to sport the shamrock.

Shortly before Game 4 Friday, with a potential sweep on hand,
Brendan Kelly, who is originally from Eastie, was on a bike outside the AAC in a black and green Kristaps Porzingis jersey.

A man stands in a green Celtics jacket in front of an arena. He has a green Celtics hat and a black shirt on.
Nat Anglin flew from Los Angeles to be at Game 4
Esteban Bustillos GBH News

“Obviously, I get the looks of hatred and stuff, but I’ve watched all the Celtics games at Mavs bars and the locals actually kind of know me now. And they’ve actually been really cool, you know what I mean? Like you can tell [this] is a very passionate sports city, just like Boston,” he said.

Nat Anglin, who grew up in Milton, lives in Los Angeles now and flew to Dallas Thursday night for Game 4, with plans to leave early the next morning.

That’s a big commitment, but as he put it, he couldn’t think of a better place to be. Standing outside in the 90 degree Texas heat in a short-sleeved green Celtics warmup jacket, he said he admired the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“And I think they bring out the best of what Boston has to offer as far as world class intelligence, diversity and excellence,” he said. “So I’m thrilled all the way around to be a part of it.”

Obviously, I get the looks of hatred and stuff, but I’ve watched all the Celtics games at Mavs bars and the locals actually kind of know me now.
Brendan Kelly, Celtics fan

Just outside the American Airlines Center arena before Wednesday’s Game 3, a DJ blasted hits over speakers while fans posed for selfies with larger-than-life photos of players on a Mavericks blue carpet.

But amid the sea of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving jerseys were a handful of people in Celtics gear.

Matthew French was sporting a t-shirt from the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals, when a rookie Jayson Tatum took on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

French, who lives in Fort Worth, took up Boston sports fandom starting with the Patriots dynasty and hasn’t looked back.

“So just to have the opportunity right here in the backyard to go see our favorite team, and not only that, this is the best team we’ve seen,” he said. “So, we think they’re gonna take it this year.”

Arjun Mahendran, who lives in the Austin area, has been a Celtics fan since their 2008 championship run.

“I just left straight from work down here,” he said. “Couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

And Anthony Leonardo, who is originally from Somerset and now lives in the Dallas area, described seeing the Celtics in the NBA Finals in Dallas as “unreal.”

“It would cost so much to fly back home and buy tickets and then fly back,” he said. “So to have them here against a team that’s hard to root against, even though they’ve got Kyrie (Irving), it’s just awesome.”