The Boston Celtics had a disappointing end to their postseason run in Orlando when they were stunned by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, ending the chance for what could have been the latest chapter in a Lakers-Celtics rivalry that has been going almost since the birth of the NBA.
For many of the players on this Celtics squad, it’s simply allowed them to shift focus to some of the equal justice initiatives that were born out of the work stoppage during the opening round of the playoffs, namely the massive 10-year, multi-million-dollar program spearheaded by Jaylen Brown designed to focus on education reform and other social justice causes in the Boston area.
For Marcus Smart, it’s given him an opportunity to speak out on something more personal. In a piece for the Players’ Tribune this week, the Celtics guard opened up about an incident he had with a fan outside of TD Garden after a game. Smart was trying to help a woman and her young son safely cross a street through traffic, when the woman started hurling racial epithets at him.
Via The Players’ Tribune:
She swung her head around and it was….“F*** you, you f***ing n-word!!!!” And in an instant, just like that, I was made to feel less than human. I wasn’t a person to this woman. I was a form of entertainment. Nothing more. And, believe me, it took every ounce of restraint in my body not to curse her out. A few seconds later, I drove off. I just wanted it to be over.
Beyond the obvious pain and heartbreak of the situation, Smart says he was most affected by the fact this mother spewed this type of hatred toward someone like that in front of her small child and the long-term effects that parents have on future generations by virtue of their behavior and their words.
Still, Smart remains hopeful about what he’s seen throughout the protests and the marches this year, as he and the Celtics organization continue their efforts to affect change via their money and their influence.