Marcus Smart Praises Celtics for NBA Title, Jokes About Not Being ‘Salty’

The former Celtics guard isn't holding a grudge against his former team.
May 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) react in the third quarter against the Miami Heat during game four of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center.
May 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) react in the third quarter against the Miami Heat during game four of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Marcus Smart spent the first nine years of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, and the 2023-24 season marked the first in which he wasn't on the team.

The Celtics won the team's 18th NBA championship last week, and fans immediately wondered how Smart was holding up with the news. He spent nearly a decade trying to accomplish this task, and when the Celtics finally won, he wasn't part of it.

Smart isn't holding any grudges or ill-will towards his former teammates, though. The Memphis Grizzlies guard expressed how he was proud of the team for winning while speaking on Run Your Race.

“Shout out to Jaylen [Brown], Jayson [Tatum] and the Boston Celtics, congratulations on the championship," Smart said. "I’m just so proud of them. I'm proud to be able to be in the trenches with them, to know those guys, to be able to go to work with them every day that I had that chance to do."

Smart briefly paused before continuing to speak on a different note.

"I know everyone is expecting me to be salty. There's no hard feelings for them," Smart said, sparking some jokes between him and host Theo Pinson. "It's definitely a bittersweet feeling. It's definitely tough because I was in those trenches with them. To be able not to finish what you started with those guys is definitely tough. ... My wife will tell you, I was screaming for those guys when they won just as much as anyone else because, like I said, I have love for those guys and I know the work that they put in."

The Celtics made the playoffs in all nine seasons when Smart was on the team. The team reached the NBA Finals once with Smart, losing to the Golden State Warriors in 2022. The Celtics also reached five Eastern Conference Finals series with Smart.


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Madison Williams

MADISON WILLIAMS

Madison Williams is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated, where she specializes in tennis but covers a wide range of sports from a national perspective. Before joining SI in 2022, Williams worked at The Sporting News. Having graduated from Augustana College, she completed a master’s in sports media at Northwestern University. She is a dog mom and an avid reader.