Smart And Not So Smart Moves
Marcus Smart is one of the most talented players in America. The Oklahoma State point guard is considered by most to be a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He actually could have been a lottery pick last year, but he came back to school to work on a few things to prepare him for the NBA. Things started off well, but as the season as gone on, the frustration has seemed to build coinciding with the play on the court. Smart has not shot the ball as well as he would like and his team has been scuffling as of late. As if the frustration was not enough, the incident on Saturday night versus Texas Tech took the scrutiny for the young man to another level:
Just like the announcer for ESPN, many were going off on Marcus Smart and his actions in this whole thing. And to his credit, he took responsibility for his actions in this press conference the following day:
But let’s get into what was reportedly happened in this incident. Smart reportedly told his coaches that he was called a racial slur by the fan in the stands, Jeff Orr. And to that accusation, Orr responded by stating he did not use a racial slur, but that he did call Smart a “piece of crap” (the video confirming that is not conclusive). Honestly, we may never know what was truly said in this incident because it is quickly turning into a “he-said, he-said”. But something was said because Orr apologized and voluntarily decided to give up his seats for the remainder of the season. Smart was handed a three game suspension by the Big 12 conference for his role in this incident and this will undoubtedly hurt his team. But to some that think this will hurt his stock in the draft, think again. Per Adam Katz of ESPN, many NBA scouts see this incident as a blip on the radar screen and still hold Smart in high regard heading into this draft. But the action has now painted a broad stroke as to what some will now know of this young man and that is not fair at all.
I can understand the feelings of Smart in regards to the being allegedly called a racial slur. In fact, I can identify completely with his reaction. I experienced someone calling me a racial slur when I was around his age. And of course I was angry when it happened. Fortunately, I did not do anything that would cost me the rest of my life. We all have to remember that Smart is a young man. And as a young man, he is going to encounter situations that he may not have come across before. To expect him to know how to handle himself in all situations as a young kid is crazy. And like Marcus said, he has looked at the situation and he will move forward from it and learn. Hopefully when or if he comes across the same situation, he will not give in to the people that are trying to get a reaction out of him. Because when you react to people in these situations, that’s when you give them some power over you through your emotions. That’s the lesson I had to learn and I’m sure this is a lesson that Smart will learn as his profile grows.
The real question needs to be asked of Mr. Jeff Orr. Just like Marcus Smart could have handled the situation better, Orr could have as well. And what makes it even worse for him is that he is in his 50’s. What 50 year old man does anyone know that heckles young men at a college basketball game? And by heckle, I mean say and do things to them that are meant to be hurtful and demean them. One example of Orr going a little crazy was when Texas Tech was playing the Texas A&M Aggies a couple years back:
Who would have thought a man in his 50’s could act like a kid when watching a game. John Lucas III, a former Oklahoma State player himself, chimed in via Twitter and had this response in regards to Orr: “I just saw the video. That same fan was at the games talking crazy even when I was in school and I don’t forget a face. He talks a lot of crazy ish.” So to Mr. Orr, what kick do you get out of flipping birds and talking trash to college kids? It seems to me he has some sort of issue and that this was not an isolated event.
After this whole situation, I have come to be an even bigger fan of Marcus Smart. He understands he must rise above that situation and did not run or point fingers in the aftermath. Not many people realize that at any age in this world. I hope he comes back and carries Oklahoma State to the NCAA tournament and then some.
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