BOSTON – A massive weight was lifted off Marcus Smart’s shoulders Thursday afternoon as he penned a brand-new contract with the Boston Celtics. The 18 days spent as a restricted free agent was a difficult period of time for the 24-year-old point guard, and not just because his NBA future was hanging in the balance.
Smart had to juggle his restricted free agency with caring for his mother Camellia Smart, who is currently battling bone marrow cancer. As a family-first man, Smart placed most of his attention on the latter.
“When you go through adversity with something like this in your family, it puts things in perspective,” Smart reflected Friday afternoon during a conference call with the media. “Everything else becomes kind of a blur to you.”
In the back of his mind, Smart knew that he had to handle his career matters as well. He wanted nothing more than to return to his beloved Celtics team, and finally he received the offer he had been hoping for.
Re-signing with Boston was exactly what Smart and his family needed to help lift their spirits during a period of tribulation.
“This is a hard time, but at the same time this is an exciting time for my family,” said Smart. “With the signing, it kind of brings a little joy to lighten up a situation that was a little darker for me.”
The Celtics have been a beacon of light in Smart’s life for four years now. They brought him into the NBA, drafting him sixth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, and he has since developed into one of the most cherished athletes in Boston.
Over that period of time, Smart’s teammates, coaches, and the entire community outside of the organization have all become a part of his extended family. They did not want to lose him, and he did not want to lose them.
“Boston loves me, I love Boston,” said Smart. “Boston wants me to be here, I want to be here. So, we made it work.”
Smart will do anything for his family, and that’s why he is so devoted to the Celtics, as a tenacious competitor on the court, and to the city, as an active member of the community.
“I feel like I’m a part of the Boston community,” said Smart. “I feel like Boston is a second home for me.”
Smart could have left that second home for a larger role with another team, but he knows that Boston is the perfect place for him.
As a player with as much heart as Smart, there aren’t many better opportunities to succeed than with this talented team.
“As a competitor, you’re always taught that you want win championships,” said Smart. “You want to put yourself in the best place to do that. And the Celtics right now is one of those teams where we have a great shot to win it.
“It’s a great organization, a great city. And it fits me – my type of style, who I am. So, I’m happy to be here.”
Happiness has been hard to come by lately for Smart and his family, but the news of his returning to the Celtics is something that they can all smile about – especially his mother.
“She’s in good spirits,” said Smart. “She’s hanging on. As of right now, she’s doing great.”
And her son is doing great as well, now that he can continue to provide her with care while knowing that his future with his beloved Celtics is secure.