Over the years we’ve been blessed with numerous podcasts featuring some of our favorite players, both past and present. But it’s a rare occasion that we get to hear from Marcus Smart. During a recent guest appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man & The Three,” Smart covered a wide range of topics.
As you would expect, one of the first discussion points on the podcast revolved around Smart’s name being floated around in trade discussions at the deadline for most of his NBA career.
“It feels good (to still be in Boston). You know, I don’t lose sleep. Some of my teammates do. Each and every year, they’re looking at me like ‘how do you do it and you’re still here’ and I’m like, ‘I told you: I let my game do the talking.’ But there is a feeling, to finally be able to just go and play ball. You don’t have to worry about those things anymore. All of your energy can just go to what you’re supposed to do on the court.”
As an interesting anecdote, both Redick and Smart noted how certain NBA fans prefer the trade discussions over watching the games, a notion that baffles most professional athletes. It’s a notion that’s often discussed on NBA Twitter because, with each trade, numerous lives are uprooted in an instant. Players and their families need to find new housing, school systems, and the like. Or, those players could leave their families behind, and commute back and forth during the year.
“You put in that hard work, and you’re like ‘this is what you’re focusing on?’ Like I said, you put that hard work in, you go out there every night and put your heart out there. And then someone picks something that has nothing to do with the hard work you put in, but it’s a business. I tell a couple of teammates all the time, ‘we’re in the entertainment business, and business is first. When it comes to business, you can’t have it personal, you go out there, do what your supposed to do, and keep it business. That’s just the way it is.’”
When Smart’s comes up in discussions between fans, the conversation can go one of two ways. Either you love him and appreciate all the little things he brings to the table, or you loathe him and see his poor shooting and occasional outbursts as a constant detrimental factor for the roster. There’s no middle ground.
Apparently, Smart hears the noise and sees the comments, but he remains confident in his own ability and was quick to remind people that he’s still the current record holder for most three-pointers made in a game for the Boston Celtics.
“I mean, we can sit here and talk about my shooting, I’m probably not the best shooter in the world. But let’s not forget I still hold the record for most threes in a game in a Celtics uniform. But, it’s a popularity contest. People have guys that they like more than others, so no matter what those guys do, they’re always going to be right, and no matter what those guys do, they’re always going to be wrong. And that’s just what it is, unfortunately. I play the game to win, and the individual stats will come with it, but for me, it’s just about winning. Those individual people who count the stats, that just tells you about their knowledge of basketball.”
Honestly, if you haven't already done so, go check out Marcus Smart's appearance on The Old Man & The Three - it's really, really good. https://t.co/MiIR7xpmGb— Adam Taylor (@AdamTaylorNBA) February 14, 2022
Of course, playing with a winning mentality doesn’t come easy, and you don’t earn the title of “longest tenured player” on an NBA roster without bringing something unique. For some, it’s elite scoring, others it's playmaking, but for Smart, it’s an intense desire to compete at the highest level. Yet, while we’ve all marveled at Smart’s willingness to sacrifice his body in the name of Celtics basketball, we’ve seldom asked ourselves how he gets so fired up before every game.
Luckily, Smart has provided us with an answer, and it’s as touching as it is endearing.
“My brother didn’t get the opportunity to live out his dream. It was taken away from him very early. So every time I step on that floor, If I’m not giving it everything I have, it was in vain and I can’t have that. My mentality is to go out there and leave it all on the court because on any given day, it could be.”
Smart and Redick also discussed the fandom in Boston, how Redick almost signed for the Celtics on multiple occasions, and multiple other details that only NBA players can share. What made this episode special, was that it was filmed in front of a live audience at the Crystal Ballroom in Boston, which gave the episode more of a talk show feel and a vibrant authenticity.
You can catch the full episode on Apple, Spotify, or watch it in its entirety on the below YouTube link.