Marcus Smart Gets Emotional Tribute Video & Standing Ovation In Boston Return
Marcus Smart, who spent nine seasons with the Boston Celtics before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies last summer, received a warm and emotional welcome, from his former team and fans on Sunday night.
The Celtics played a heartfelt tribute video for Smart during a timeout in the first quarter, highlighting his hustle, defense, leadership, and community involvement.
Smart, who watched the video from the Grizzlies’ bench, was visibly moved by the gesture. He waved to the crowd, blew kisses, and pounded his chest as the fans at TD Garden gave him a standing ovation.
“It was amazing. It was everything I expected and more,” Smart said after the game. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play here and for the fans to show me that love and respect.”
all love pic.twitter.com/5dwJ22qC3Q
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 4, 2024
Smart, who did not play due to a hamstring injury, also received hugs and handshakes from his former teammates and coaches before and after the game. He said he still keeps in touch with many of them and considers them family.
“I love those guys. They’re my brothers for life,” Smart said. “We went through a lot of ups and downs together. We grew together. We learned together. We have a bond that can’t be broken.”
Smart, who was drafted by the Celtics with the sixth overall pick in 2014, was one of the longest-tenured players in modern franchise history. He was known for his gritty and tenacious style of play, earning the nickname “Cobra” and making the NBA All-Defensive First Team twice, as well as winning the DPOY award. He also embraced the city of Boston and its fans, participating in various charitable and social causes.
Smart was traded to the Grizzlies in August 2023, said he understood the business side of the NBA, but admitted it was hard to leave Boston.
“It was tough. It was very tough. This is home for me,” Smart said. “But I’m happy where I’m at. I’m happy with the situation I’m in. I’m happy with the guys I’m with. I’m just trying to make the best out of it.”
Smart, who is averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game this season, said he hopes to return to the court soon and help the injury-riddled Grizzlies compete in the Western Conference. He also said he looks forward to playing against the Celtics again, and thanked them for the memorable night.
“I appreciate everything they did for me. I appreciate the fans. I appreciate the organization. I appreciate the city,” Smart said. “It was a great night. It was a night I’ll never forget.”
til next time pic.twitter.com/jvdtiBP8bM
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 5, 2024