Marcus Smart was moved by a story that Boston sportswriter Kevin O’Connor shared about his father, who is battling terminal cancer.
The Ringer correspondent wrote about how he and his father always bonded over basketball and how his father’s battle with cancer has overshadowed his coverage of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. O’Connor shared how the two bonded over their love of the Boston Celtics and recently attended what will likely be their final game together.
“My dad’s been bringing me to games since I was 10 years old, and we’ve enjoyed it all,” O’Connor wrote.
“The high fives and the hugs. The shouting and the screaming. The nosebleed seats. The mission to find a spot in the lower bowl. The trips home, when we packed like sardines on crowded train cars that smelled like sweat and beer.”
O’Connor shared that his father had recently been diagnosed with incurable stage 4 cancer that has spread throughout his body. Because of the advanced nature of the cancer, chemotherapy is not an option at the moment and Kevin’s father, Paul, has a difficult path of treatment ahead that could get him months more at most.
Smart, who said he too has been affected by family members battling cancer, decided to find a way to reach out to the Celtics-loving family. After Game 3 of the Celtics playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Smart decided to give an autographed jersey to Kevin’s dad. Smart posted a picture on Instagram of Paul O’Connor smiling and he held the jersey, sharing a supportive message for him.
“You are an inspiration to so many and I hope you keep kicking cancers a**!” Smart wrote.
“Everyone out there, remember to always tell your family and friends you love them. Keep fighting Paul, you are not alone. The city of Boston is fighting right along side of you!!”
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I couldn’t be more honored to sign and give my jersey to Paul, Kevin O’Connor’s father last night. Paul, your son is an incredible journalist who I have known since I was drafted by the Celtics. Unfortunately I know all too well what you and your family are going through but I urge you guys to continue to stay positive and enjoy life. You are an inspiration to so many and I hope you keep kicking cancers ass! Everyone out there, remember to always tell your family and friends you love them. Keep fighting Paul, you are not alone. The city of Boston is fighting right along side of you!!
Smart has been working through some personal adversity during the 2019 playoffs, working to recover from a torn left oblique muscle. This week, he started doing more strenuous drills and is set to return to practice for the first time on Sunday, MassLive reported.
In the meantime, his act of kindness toward Kevin O’Connor’s father has earned plenty of praise for Marcus Smart, with many fans responding to the Instagram post be leaving supportive messages for the family as Kevin’s dad battles cancer. Kevin himself thanked Marcus for the support, saying that they would “fight this together.”