Celtics coach Brad Stevens missed a game last week to be with Andrew Smith, whom Stevens coached at Butler and was battling cancer.
Sadly, Smith died today at age 25.
Stevens delivered a heartfelt message before tonight’s Boston-New York game.
And as Stevens went about explaining his relationship with Smith, the painful emotions he was feeling were slowly but surely making their way to surface as a visibly shaken Stevens spoke from the heart.
‘I was happy that I had a chance to say good-bye. I can go on and on and it wouldn’t do him justice,” Stevens told reporters, his voice quivering, prior to tonight’s game against New York. “He was special, tough. He set a great example.”
And while Smith will certainly be on Stevens’ mind throughout the night, he told reporters he plans to still coach the team tonight.
“I think at the end of the day, I’m going to go out and do my job and do it as well as I can,” Stevens said.
I think Evan Turner summed it up best about Stevens:
“He’s hurting,” Celtics guard Evan Turner told CSNNE.com. “That dude is a caring person, caring and emotional. He’s one of those guys who sees the bigger picture as opposed to just basketball. So, you definitely feel for him.”
If you’re a Comcast subscriber in Boston, you can stream tonight’s Celtics-Knicks game here.