Sunday evening, the Memphis Grizzlies ventured out to eastern Massachusetts to square off against the Boston Celtics, marking it as the first time Marcus Smart had returned to the TD Garden since being traded this past offseason.
Though inactive for the contest as he continues to nurse a dislocated finger, the crowd in attendance still showered the veteran with love and admiration and sounded off with nothing but cheers and applause following the showing of his tribute video.
A treasured member of the Celtics organization, the love fans and organization members held for Smart during his nine-year tenure was evident, and said feelings were reciprocated from the point guard.
Of course, this only made things more painful when he was ultimately shipped out to the 38103, as he described the "hurt" he felt after having been traded to the Grizzlies back in June.
Marcus Smart talks 'hurt' of being traded by Celtics to Grizzlies
"Between getting married and the wedding and everything personally that I've been dealing with, it helped me cope. It definitely hurt but it didn't hurt as hard as I thought it would because of that... I understand business and I understand this business and I tell people to this day too [that] if it was me I'd make the same business decision as well. All I asked was that, you know, could have gave a heads up or just a simple 'Hey, you've been here nine years, we just want to let you know this is what's going on.' At the end of the day, I'm a businessman as well. So that's what it was, the hurt really came from, but, like I said, I was able to keep my mind off of it"- Marcus Smart
Smart would continue on to note that while he believes things could have been approached differently when it comes to how he was traded, at the end of the day, "there is no ill-will toward the organization" and that he believes that they deserve to be in a position to contend for a title just as much as he does.
Though the Grizzlies ultimately wound up losing the contest by a grueling final score of 131-91, with the Celtics shelling minutes out to nearly double the amount of players that Taylor Jenkins rolled onto the hardwood (had eight active players on the night), for Smart, his return to Boston was overwhelmingly one that was filled with nothing but love and joy.
In a way, it was all part of the healing process for the veteran.