CANTON, MA — On the third day of fall and the first day of the 2018-19 Boston Celtics season, Marcus Smart spoke of the coming storm.
The weather outside was cloudy. Inside the studio where the Celtics were taking team photos was colder than they’d like. Only the media room was warm, according Kyrie Irving. But that weather wasn’t the kind of storm Smart meant, anyway. Not really, anyway.
Most everyone on the Celtics spoke of the great summer they had in their first meetings with the media. Everyone except maybe Smart, who watched his mother’s cancer slowly end her life. Smart told reporters in April that his mother, Camellia, had myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer caused by abnormal cells in bone marrow. He eschewed focus on his free agency to return to Texas and be with his family.
Everyone worked out and got healthy and even played some pickup games together before training camp truly began on Tuesday. They’re all ready to have fun together and not worry about who gets minutes where. But for Smart, a return to basketball season is an escape from the rest of the world, a world that’s tough for him to bear.
“I look at basketball like a storm, but it’s the eye of the storm. The calmest place is right in the middle of it, the eye of it,” Smart said. “That’s what basketball is for me: it’s the eye. While everything else is distracting me, the destruction, things like that, basketball keeps me calm.”