BOSTON — Marcus Smart, the beloved former Boston Celtics player, received a heartfelt tribute in his return to TD Garden on Sunday night. Although Smart is currently sidelined with a right finger injury and couldn’t participate in the game, his presence was unforgettable.
The tribute video played during the game showcased Smart’s unforgettable moments during his nine-year tenure in Boston. It ignited wild cheering from the crowd, which grew even louder when Jayson Tatum urged fans to show their love for Smart.
Smart, known for his fiery and passionate playing style, was a fan favorite throughout his time with the Celtics. He led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals five times and even made it to the NBA Finals. Although a championship eluded them during that period, Smart remains an enduring favorite among fans and his former teammates.
In his post-game interview, Tatum expressed his admiration for Smart and the overwhelming support from the fans. He noted that Smart wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his all every night, which resonated with the knowledgeable Boston fans. Tatum jokingly mentioned that he was surprised Smart didn’t shed a tear during the emotional tribute video.
Not only did Smart leave a lasting impact on the court, but he also made significant contributions off the court. He spent countless days at Boston Children’s Hospital, providing inspiration and support to pediatric cancer patients. Additionally, his YounGameChanger Foundation empowered inner-city student-athletes by offering guidance and motivation.
During the tribute, Smart was recognized as the “Hero Among Us” by the Celtics, emphasizing his impact on and off the court in the Boston community. Smart expressed his gratitude to the city and fans, stating that Boston will always hold a special place in his heart.
Although Smart now wears the Memphis jersey, his impact on the Celtics and their players remains. Al Horford, who became a Celtics player in 2016, joined the team to play alongside players like Smart and Isaiah Thomas. Horford admired Smart’s ability to hold people accountable and speak his mind. This influence contributed to Tatum and Brown’s growth as leaders.
Overall, Smart’s emotional return to Boston was a testament to the lasting impression he left on the Celtics organization, his teammates, and the city. His love for the game, passionate playing style, and dedication to making a difference in the community will always be cherished.
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