Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) drives to the basket against Washington during a March game. | Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

One of the coolest trends we’ve have seen in sports the past year is young athletes wearing what they want and accessorizing in ways that make them play or feel better, regardless of neanderthals who scoff at dudes doing things like painting their nails.

The latest example is Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard, who has become a key player off the bench as the Celtics open their second-round playoff series tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pritchard regularly wears basketball shoes designed by WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, and this was considered unusual enough that he was asked why.

Even if, as it turns out, it’s not that unusual.

“Me and Sabrina are in the same class, and we went to [the University of] Oregon together as freshmen,” Pritchard said. “I’ve known her for a long time and her shoes are probably the most comfortable out right now. It’s light. I like it,” adding that he matches the shoe to the uniform the Celtics are wearing.

According to the site Kixstats, which tracks basketball shoes worn by NBA players, Pritchard has worn Ionescu’s shoes 40 times this season. A Celtics teammate, Jrue Holiday, has worn them 55 times, making him one of about 100 players who have worn a pair at least once. Dereck Lively II of the Dallas Mavericks said when he met Ionescu, she said, “Thank you for wearing my shoes.” He replied: “Thank you for making them that comfortable.”

It is encouraging to see top athletes wear something because they like it, regardless of whether it might be consider unmanly by some. This was even more pronounced with the increase in athletes who proudly talk about painting their nails:

—Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas, who paints his nails: “Not that everybody sees it as negative, but I get certain looks about it and people say certain things about it. There’s a stereotype about it and people call me this and that and say I’m this and that, but it’s so superficial and doesn’t change anything about me. It doesn’t change anything about the person that I am or what I bring to the table, the examples I set, the accountability I hold for myself.”

—Chicago Bears quarterback and overall No. 1 draft pick Caleb Williams, who paints his nails pink, wears pink lip gloss and has a pink cellphone case: “I paint my nails, I wear unique things.”

—Duke guard Jared McCain: “I understand girls do it. I understand men have started to do it a little more recently, but it was just something I saw and I like to get manicures and pedicures. I take care of my body. … I’ve always been big on just being yourself in any situation possible. And never letting somebody tell you what, what you can and can’t be. So doing the painted nails is kind of a part of me now. I just kind of do it whether I get to hate or not. The hate is funny because it’s usually grown men most of the time and it’s like you’re a grown man just hating on a kid. It doesn’t affect me at all. I kind of just laugh at it.”

I love the attitudes of these players and am convinced that it will become more widespread as people lose their hang-ups of what defines being masculine.