Veteran point guard Marcus Smart will suit up for the Memphis Grizzlies next season, his first campaign as a pro outside of the city of Boston. This comes on the heels of a blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics, the Washington Wizards, and Memphis. After nine seasons with the Celtics, Smart will take his trademark grit and tenacity to Bluff City.
Smart’s impact during his tenure with Boston extended far beyond the parquet. He became a community leader and enjoyed an intense bond with the fan base. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens was vehement in his praise of Smart’s character and leadership during a recent press conference discussing the decision to trade Smart. It’s a major fork in the road for the Celtics and for Smart himself.
What happens in the immediate aftermath of a trade is never clear. There are many paths a player can take. For Smart and his Young Game Changer Foundation, however, changing uniforms wasn’t a good enough reason to cancel a planned Pro-Am tournament in Boston. In fact, the event became even more important.
“We want to get the whole city to support and give him the send-off he deserves,” YGC Creative Director Aidan Marshall told Celtics Wire.
The event in question is an eight-team tournament featuring amateur hoopers. On July 1 and 2, Smart and the YGC Foundation will host games, a dunk contest, music performances, and more at Peters Park in Boston’s South End. The whole event will raise money for Smart’s charity.
“We are working to make this event more than a pro-am tournament,” Marshall said. “Hopefully it will be an outlet for people contributing to the culture around athletics, music, and fashion. Using our platform will hopefully inspire youth to do what they love while helping the communities around them.”
Top high school and college players will lace up for the many basketball events over the two days. A number of current NBA players are expected to attend, as well, including several members of the Boston Celtics.
If this is one of Smart’s last moments in Boston for the foreseeable future, he’s going out on his terms.
“We wanted to emulate the energy these street ball tournaments bring,” Marshall said. “but also support local causes and put a spotlight on those contributing and pushing the culture. The youth are an essential part of the community, and having Marcus use his platform to set an example across sports, music, and clothing will hopefully inspire this upcoming generation.”
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Source: Yahoo Sports