In an article he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, he talked about the novel coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism, while also mentioning an incident with a fan of his own team that was racist.
“But the incident that has stuck with me the most, and that’s had the biggest impact on me, occurred a few years back after a victory at the Garden,” Smart wrote.
“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.
“The woman was wearing an Isaiah Thomas number 4 Celts jersey. And there were all these other Celtics fans around who were at the game. I figured she’d be cool.
“She swung her head around and it was….
“’F— you, you f—ing n-word!!!!’”
“For a second it was like I couldn’t breathe,” Smart wrote.
The incident, Smart explained, made him “feel less than human.”
“I think about that night, that moment, a lot,” Smart says in retrospect. “And more than anything else, I think about … that little boy.”
The city of Boston has a history of racism towards Black people and many athletes have spoken out about it their experiences over the years.
“It just reminds me that racism is not something you’re born with,” he wrote. “It’s taught.”
After being drafted by the Celtics in 2014, Smart noted he was often pulled over by police, one of whom he says questioned whether Smart was “one of them,” in reference to Colin Kaepernick.
“I was terrified hearing that,” Smart wrote.
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