Celtics' Marcus Smart finds comfort on the court, thanks God for his abilities

As the Boston Celtics prepare to start their 2018-19 season as Eastern Conference contenders, one of their most familiar players is also preparing to keep weathering the storms of life.

Marcus Smart, the team’s first-round draft pick back in 2014, enters the year with high expectations after landing a four-year extension this offseason. But he also enters without one of his biggest companions — his mother, Camellia, who lost her summer-long battle with bone-marrow cancer on Sept. 16.

As the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy noted, Smart spent extensive time with his mom in recent months, even “moving her into an apartment across the street from her treatment facility in Dallas.”

The 24-year-old guard revealed at Celtics Media Day this week, however, that one of his best outlets for enduring hardships just happens to be playing basketball. As told to the media, Smart views the NBA court as the “calmest” part of the storm that is life, and he thanks God for allowing him the talents to have such a platform:

“A lot of people have heard me say this and explain it this way: I look at basketball as like a storm. But it’s the eye of the storm — a tornado or something like that. The calmest place of it is to be right in the eye of it. And that’s what basketball is for me; it’s my eye.

“And while everything else around me is going on, the destruction and things like that, basketball keeps me calm. That’s probably why I go out and you see me dive on the floor, or take a charge, or throw my body this way and give it everything I have because I know and understand that any day could be my last day.

“And if it were, would I be proud of what I accomplished in that time period? God has blessed me with an ability to go out there and play the game that I love to play. And I don’t want to regret that. So I feel I need to go out every day and play like it’s my last.”

A 2015 All-Rookie Team honoree, Smart and the Celtics will tip off the 2018-19 season on Oct. 16 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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