Celtics' Marcus Smart Recalls Racist Experience with Fan Outside of TD Garden

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2020

Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) gestures during an offensive possession against the Miami Heat during overtime of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

In a first-person essay for the Players' Tribune, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart recounted a moment a few years back in which a woman called him a racial slur.

Smart explained how he has been the victim of racial profiling, having been pulled over multiple times on the basis of his window tint. During one instance, the officer began ranting about Colin Kaepernick's decision to protest during the national anthem.

"I felt like that officer was looking for me to challenge him, or to respond in a way that would allow him to take some action against me," Smart wrote. "I basically just kept quiet, hoped for the best, and asked, again and again, 'Is that all, officer?'"

However, the one experience "that has stuck with [Smart] the most" involved a Celtics fan outside TD Garden:

"I was pulling out of the arena parking lot when I saw a white woman with her five- or six-year-old son crossing against the light right as the cars were starting to come at them. I had my windows down and realized something bad was about to happen, so I yelled to her, politely, that she needed to hurry and get out of the street so the two of them wouldn't get hurt. ...

"She swung her head around and it was....

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"F*** you, you f***ing n-word!!!!

"For a second it was like I couldn't breathe.

"Did she really say that?

"And in an instant, just like that, I was made to feel less than human.

"I wasn't a person to this woman. I was a form of entertainment. Nothing more. And, believe me, it took every ounce of restraint in my body not to curse her out."

Smart said he has continued to recall that moment, particularly with regard to how the mother's worldview could be passed down to her son or impact how he sees society.

The two-time NBA All-Defensive guard also detailed on the Players Tribune his experience with COVID-19.

Smart announced March 19 he had tested positive. Ten days later he said doctors had declared him free of the disease, and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported he planned to donate his blood plasma.