Marcus Smart’s story has been told many times since he we from being a freshman sensation at Oklahoma State to one of the nation’s most polarizing players as a sophomore and, eventually, the No. 6 pick in the NBA Draft to the Boston Celtics.
He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Lancaster, Texas. He watched as a number of his close friends and family members passed away. He had brothers that were in gangs. He battled some serious behavioral issues as a kid.
And while we know all that, it’s still worth reading today’s feature from the Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes on Smart. It’s very well-reported and provides some details and insights that we were previously unaware of.
Not only from his childhood.
Smart played a major role in one of the most controversial incidents of the season, when he went into the stands and shoved a fan during an Oklahoma State loss at Texas Tech. He was suspended for three games, the tipping point for the national perception of Smart.
Intense, competitive and passionate turned into hot-headed, out of control, a liability.
Holmes provided us with more context into that night in his story:
Then in February of his sophomore year, just before tip-off at Texas Tech, Marcus was told that his mother had been rushed to the hospital and that she did not want him to know.
“I was scared,” he says. “It was heavy on my mind and my heart.”
Camellia, whose blood pressure was acting up, watched from her hospital bed as Marcus lost his temper on court, engaging in an altercation with a fan late in the game — an altercation that began with the fan allegedly calling him a “trashy [racial expletive],” Michael says.
That still doesn’t excuse Smart’s actions, but when you combine that with everything else he was dealing with — the loss was their fifth in six games, Smart played awful during that stretch, he was losing his cool in prior games — it’s does help you understand why he did what he did.