It was the dumbest move of Marcus Smart’s young basketball career.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Oklahoma State All-American guard lost his cool and shoved a Texas Tech fan during a heated exchange. Smart claims he heard the fan throw a racial slur at him, but the fan vehemently denied it. A day later, having digested the whole thing, Smart knew he made a terrible mistake.
Hours after the incident, a more subdued Smart apologized for his actions. He apologized to his family, to his teammates, and to Jeff Orr — the man he pushed during the closing moments of the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game.
“This is not how I conduct myself,” Smart said during a press conference. “This is not how the program is run. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me. It’s something I’ll have to learn from, a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it — I’m taking full responsibility. No fingers pointing — this is all upon me.”
Watch the incident:
For his grave mistake, Smart was suspended by the Big 12 Conference for three games for “inappropriate conduct with a spectator.”
Smart will rebound from the three-game suspension, but he may never live down this ugly incident. Just ask Ron Artest.
It doesn’t matter that Artest won an NBA championship with the L.A. Lakers in 2010. He will forever be remembered for the guy who went up in the stands in 2005 to confront a fan in the stands for throwing a water cup in his face.
Smart could very well walk the same path. No matter what he’ll do for the rest of his basketball career, he will be remembered as the guy who shoved a fan during a game.
“I hate it because he gets painted with a certain brush,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
And this is not the first time Smart has blown his top. Against West Virginia on Jan. 25, sophomore guard kicked a chair after a poor performance in the first half.
At 6-4 and 220 pounds, Smart is a physical player who wears his emotions on his sleeve. He has all the physical tools to be a very good NBA player, and he’ll likely be a top-10 pick in the 2014 draft if and when he decides to turn pro. However, if you’re an NBA owner or general manager, would you brush off the two incidents associated with Smart? Highly unlikely.
Scouts and GMs will not only scrutinize Smart’s game on the court, but his attitude will be questioned over, and over, and over again.