Boston Celtics

Nov 18, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts to a foul call in the first half of an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is no stranger to confrontation and trash talk. It comes with the territory as one of the peskiest two-way players in the league. But he probably didn’t expect it to come from the Pepsi Center crowd on Friday night, where the feisty defender was confronted and taunted by a fan who crossed a line, according to Smart.

“The fan told me, ‘That’s right, stay on the ground, get on your knees,’” Smart said following the team’s 96-92 loss to the Nuggets. “Excuse me? I just told him, ‘Listen, just watch the game because if we retaliate to you guys and if we were on the street, I guarantee you wouldn’t say that.”

This is not foreign to the NBA, unfortunately. It was just last year that Russell Westbrook had a racially-charged encounter with a fan in Salt Lake City, while DeMarcus Cousins experienced something similar during a Celtics-Warriors game in Boston. The home arenas acted accordingly in each city, with the Jazz “permanently banning” the fan who taunted Westbrook, while the Celtics reportedly handed a two-year ban to the fan who muttered a slur at Cousins.

The same cannot be said for Pepsi Center security, which is what really seemed to irk Smart.

“I told them who it was. They just looked at him and didn’t even say anything to him, didn’t even get him out of the game,” said Smart. “Probably if I was a superstar, they probably would have did something, but it is what it is. We’re going to end up protecting ourselves eventually and it’s not going to be pretty for those fans and we don’t want that. The league doesn’t want that.

“That’s a problem in the league that we’ve got to fix. If we retaliate to protect ourselves, we’re the ones getting in trouble. They’re not. And that’s not right.”

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.