As I am sure many other Celtic fans did immediately following the draft, I spent a considerable amount of time researching both Marcus Smart and James Young, trying to get any bit of information that indicated the type of players we would be seeing in green for years to come.
Scouting reports and words like “wingspan” only take you to the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these guys. For fans like us here in Boston, the Celtics Green doesn’t just flash on our TV when the game is on. It hits our computer screens for trade rumors when the boss is out, it is the jersey we used to “fake wear” when shooting around as little kids in our driveways, and it is the Goosebumps you get right now as you read the words, “anything is possible.”
The Boston Celtics are the foundation of our youth sporting past, the present team that brings us to tears of joy, and a future of what we hope to show our children, sharing stories of how we watched miracles happen years before.
We need to know exactly who these players are, and we want to find out everything we possibly can in order to root for them the same way we root for our hometown heroes.
That is when I came across an article by Eric Prisbell of USA Today Sports. The article was dated January 2013, and was an intimate piece about the rough childhood Marcus Smart grew up in, and how his massive heart makes his talent on the hardwood look obsolete.
Things such as running away from an armed and angry member of the “bloods” at age 12, watching his childhood hero and brother Todd pass away after an 18 year battle with cancer, and seeing his brother Michael almost die from a drug overdose, were all highlighted in amazing detail and fantastic writing by Prisbell, and it is a suggested read for all Celtic Connoisseurs.
It left me feeling that Marcus was an amazing product of a loving home, and has had to grow up quickly in order to discover how to be the man his family needs. He has an enormous heart, and the piece by Prisbell highlighted every admirable quality of a kid Travis Ford calls, “one of the most genuine people he has ever been around.”
After I finished reading that piece I took to thinking a lot about what it meant to have Marcus Smart as a member of this current Boston Celtics team. When you see Marcus play basketball, words like “tenacity” and “intensity” get thrown around quite a bit. He is a player with an unrivaled motor, a high basketball I.Q, and a knack for making the right play on both ends of the floor. But all of that sort of takes a back seat after reading into the type of man that Marcus has had to become.
Let’s be clear. I do not hold any authority to make assumptions on these young players’ futures, I did not watch any of these men play live nor did I get the chance to sit down with them. To be honest, I do not even really know what Marcus Smart’s career will end up looking like 5 or 10 years from now.
What I do know is that I trust Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, and the entire front office staff of the Boston Celtics to make the right call on any player. I also know that I read that story by Eric Prisbell and got emotional.
That is the type of player I want to represent our city. That is the type of man I want to wear the green night in and night out. That is the type of Celtic I want to see for many glorious nights in the Garden to come.
Marcus Smart, on behalf of all of us, welcome to Boston.
By: Mikey Fowler – @mikeyfowler18