Boston.com's Tom Westerholm -- like just about any Boston Celtics fan the world over -- believes that the C's tribute for Marcus Smart during his return to the TD Garden (albeit in street clothes) on February 4 was "deserved."
"Smart was not a perfect basketball player, but he was a good one who contributed enormously to winning basketball," Westerholm prefaced before saying, "The Celtics never missed the playoffs during his tenure with the team, and he became the first guard in more than two decades to win Defensive Player of the Year in 2021-22. Based purely on his on-court contributions, he deserved a tribute video.
"But what spoke volumes on Sunday was that the Celtics didn’t just stop with a tribute video. They also named Smart the team’s “Hero Among Us” for Sunday’s game, which honors a person who made an impact on the community."
Marcus Smart didn't cry during Boston Celtics tribute to Jayson Tatum's surprise
As NESN's Adam London relayed, Smart actually held off from crying during his TD Garden tribute to the surprise of Jayson Tatum. London did a good job of explaining why it was a surprise not just to Tatum, but to all of us.
"The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year managed to keep it together as he was celebrated by his former team and fan base, which 'surprised' Tatum," London prefaced before saying, "And how could the Celtics franchise cornerstone not feel that way? After all, Smart playing with overt emotions and his heart on his sleeve is part of the reason why he became such a fan favorite in Boston."
Smart's eyes were dry, unlike many Celtics fans who reminisced about his nine years in green. Perhaps he knows this isn't the end of the road and that a return down the line is in the cards. The Memphis Grizzlies are likely going nowhere fast as a franchise, and when Jrue Holiday retires down the line, or if he finds a new team before then, Smart will have a role ready in the starting five.