Marcus Smart sends classy response to Boston Celtics' Banner 18

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The city of Boston has not stopped celebrating since the Celtics captured Banner 18. After all, this Celtics team etched its place in history with a magical 2024 playoff run that capped off one of the most dominant seasons ever.

For many fans, the championship would taste even sweeter if one former Celtic still played in Beantown. Mr. “Love and Trust” himself, Marcus Smart.

When the Celtics shipped Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal that landed them Kristaps Porzingis, the trade left many fans heartbroken. Fortunately for Boston, the eventual acquisition of Jrue Holiday lessened the blow of losing everything Smart brought to the table.

While Celtics Nation dearly misses Smart and what he brought to the organization for nine seasons, the entire fanbase knows how important he was in developing Boston’s championship culture. Without Smart’s mentorship and leadership along the way, these Celtics may not have gotten over the hump.

Smart joined NBA veteran Theo Pinson on his podcast, Tidal League, to talk about the Celtics finally winning a ring again behind the greatness of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

"Shoutout to Jaylen, Jayson and the Boston Celtics. Congratulations on the championship. They built that. They went through the mud, they didn’t skip any steps. I was there with them for nine years of my career, I’ve seen it. It’s no coincidence that they’ve reached their goal now. I’m just so proud of them. I’m proud to be able to be in the trenches with them … I know everyone is expecting me to be salty."

Marcus Smart

Smart jokingly suggested that fans might expect him to react negatively to the Celtics title given his departure last offseason. True Boston fans know how much the Celtics’ core meant to Smart and how much guys like Tatum and Brown loved the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year. 

The feeling of love was mutual for Smart, his teammates, and the countless Celtics fans who wore No. 36 jerseys to TD Garden to support one of Boston’s all-time fan favorites.

While a Celtics reunion could happen later on in Smart’s career, the 30-year-old point guard might have another kind of reunion in the near future. Recent reports suggest the Houston Rockets could trade the No. 3 pick in this year’s NBA draft to the Grizzlies for Smart and the No. 9 pick.

However, other sources have shut the idea down and believe the Rockets will stick with their high lottery pick and simply make a selection.

If Smart continues his newest tenure with Memphis next season, he will bring a lot of the energy the Grizzlies have played with throughout their franchise history. Smart will only add to Memphis’ grit-and-grind mentality, and Grizzlies fans should love him for it.

Boston Celtics fans showed love for Smart at the championship parade

At the Celtics’ championship parade, many fans flooded the streets of Boston with Smart jerseys on their backs. Amid all the commotion of a parade that saw more than 1 million Celtics fans in attendance, the Boston faithful still found a way to show plenty of love for Smart.

Noa Dalzell of CelticsBlog recounted a moment at the parade when Cs fans drowned out “F-ck Kyrie” chants with even louder “Marcus Smart” chants.

On Pinson’s podcast, Smart did admit to the “bittersweet feeling” of seeing the Celtics cross the finish line without him. Even so, Smart has too much love for the Celtics to feel anything but overwhelming excitement for Tatum, Brown and the rest of the crew.

"It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. I was in the trenches with them … Not to finish what you started with those guys is definitely tough but my wife will tell you I was screaming for those guys when they won it just as much as anyone else. I have love for those guys, and I know the work they put in. I’ve been through it."

Marcus Smart

Even though Smart no longer wears Celtic green, he will bleed it forever. Smart’s legacy will continue on for Boston fans who watched him pour his heart and soul into the organization for almost a decade.