Boston, MA– Before we discuss what went wrong with the Celtics season, let's take a moment to reflect on something heartwarming that went really right.
The beginning of the 2018-19 Boston Celtics season was marked by a morose sadness that hung over the team after the loss of Camellia Smart, the mother of Celtics guard Marcus Smart. In September of 2018, Camellia lost her fight with bone marrow cancer and it inspired Marcus Smart's efforts throughout the entire season.
Eight months later, another member of the NBA community revealed that one of his beloved family members was also suffering from the effects of cancer. NBA journalist Kevin O'Connor, who is a noted Orlando Magic fan and currently writes for The Ringer, wrote a piece for the Bill Simmons-led website that detailed his current experiences with his father, Paul, who has Stage IV cancer. Part of O'Connor's article included stories about how he grew up going to Celtics games with his father and he wrote about the bond they formed over Boston and over basketball.
In response to this article, Marcus Smart gifted Paul O'Connor a signed jersey ahead of the third game in the series between the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. He accompanied the gesture with a heartfelt Instagram post with a message that read:
"I couldn’t be more honored to sign and give my jersey to Paul, Kevin O’Connor’s father last night. Paul, your son is an incredible journalist who I have known since I was drafted by the Celtics. Unfortunately I know all too well what you and your family are going through but I urge you guys to continue to stay positive and enjoy life. You are an inspiration to so many and I hope you keep kicking cancers ass! Everyone out there, remember to always tell your family and friends you love them. Keep fighting Paul, you are not alone. The city of Boston is fighting right along side of you!!"
It is an inspiring message that shows how even in the worst of times, there can still be things that unify us. All the best wishes for the O'Connor family and a nod to Marcus Smart for his kind gesture.
Image via Flickr / Keith Allison