Celtics' Marcus Smart joins CNN to discuss coronavirus pandemic, positive test

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Celtics' Marcus Smart joins CNN to discuss coronavirus pandemic, positive test

Since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus last week, several more players have followed with positive tests. On Thursday, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart announced he was one of them.

Smart's announcement assured everyone he has been self-quarantining and he hasn't shown any symptoms of the virus. He also sent a crucial reminder of the importance of washing one's hands during this crisis.

Friday, Smart echoed those sentiments on CNN with Chris Cuomo. The 26-year-old described his reaction to finding out he had the virus, and what he's been up to since the positive test.

"I found out yesterday evening sometime. And for me, it was just like a surprise, you know, because like I said, I feel fine. I haven't had any symptoms," Smart said. "So for me, like when they told me I had it, I was just like, oh, wow. You know, and it definitely really makes you alert to what's going on. In the situation.

"I've actually been taking isolation -- the quarantine very, very seriously. I've been quarantined for a while now. Ever since we got back from our road trip and decided to get the team tested. I have been quarantined ever since. Doing everything I'm supposed to. Washing my hands. Germ-x. Everything."

Asked if he is concerned about having the virus in the midst of the pandemic, Smart made it clear there is no need to worry about his health.

"Actually, I'm not -- I'm not that concerned at all," he said. "You know, like I said, I feel fine. No symptoms. And I talked to my doctors and they feel the exact same way with me. And they just told me, you know, you haven't really experienced any symptoms yet. I mean, you already being quarantined. So you should be on that last curve of the ball. And so everybody in my corner feels great on this end. And we just ready to finally get this behind us. And move on, like I said.

"But we're taking the steps to make sure we keep, you know, everybody else safe around me. My loved ones. And just people out in the streets and making sure we keep the contact limitless and just quarantine. That's the biggest key is just really isolating yourself."

Lastly, Smart explained how even if someone like himself isn't showing symptoms, they should still quarantine themselves to prevent potentially spreading the virus to others unknowingly.

"And that's the key. That's the key right there. Because people that contract the virus can be asymptomatic and not show any symptoms is really hard for anyone to know that they have the virus," Smart said. "And being around a group of people, being around friends and family, and, you know, really not isolating yourself, you are a carrier and you become spreading the virus around with not even knowing. And that's the biggest key because you can't tell just by looking at somebody whether they have it or not because they can still look healthy and normal. And still have it and spread it. And then that's where we get the problem where we have now. I advise, especially around my generation, I'm 26. Take it seriously.

"You know, be positive. I'm okay. I'm going to be okay. But definitely, be alert to what's going on and take the precautions to not only protect yourself. By protecting yourself, you protect others."

Other NBA players to test positive for the coronavirus so far along with Smart and Gobert are Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Christian Wood, and two unnamed Los Angeles Lakers players. The Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets announced members of the organization have tested positive, though it's currently unclear whether any of them were players.

Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Several Boston Celtics players have been leaders in calling for change and participating in peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, as well as guard Marcus Smart also took part in peaceful protests Sunday in Boston.

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Cedric Maxwell played for the Celtics from 1977-78 through 1984-85, and he's spent most of the last two decades as a radio analyst for the team. He's very happy that these Celtics players are stepping up in this crucial moment.

"I absolutely loved it. It was fascinating to see," Maxwell said on "Arbella Early Edition" on Tuesday night. "Jaylen Brown -- I love what he did, to drive down 15 hours going to Atlanta. The only thing that disappointed me about Jaylen Brown was the fact that he did not have a mask on. If you're going to lead, you've got to lead on every aspect.

"I have just marveled at that, the fact that you have our players, like my family, my kids, are doing something that's so positive that they don't have to do. And they're showing the fact that they're connected to this community. That to me, is just -- that's what it is supposed to be about. Players during my era, we weren't connected like that. Now that these guys live in a city, they live and breathe and do the same things the city does."

NBC Sports Boston Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely isn't only impressed with the players doing their part to bring about change, he's encouraged by the message from coaches like Brad Stevens on how they can play their own role in fighting racial injustice.

"The thing that jumps out to me about the Celtics isn't so much the players who are stepping up, but those around them, the Brad Stevens' of the world," Blakely said. "On his call with reporters earlier today, the one thing he talked about that really kind of resonated with me were the conversations that he was having with other white coaches in the NBA. He talked about how they can't just have empathy for players -- the black players and black coaches and the assistants.

They have to be part of what drives change throughout this time. I thought that was really important for him to acknowledge that, that they can't just be on the sidelines saying, 'We feel so bad for you guys, we're so sorry.' No, you have to be part of the process that brings about change, and I think the simple acknowledgement of that being their role, that to me is the beginning of things turning around.

"When you look back at the Civil Rights movement back in the 1950s and 1960s, as much as Dr. Martin Luther King was at the forefront of that, there were a lot of white people who helped elevate that platform to another level. I think if we're going to get the kind of systemic change that we're talking about, that has to happen among the NBA family as well." 

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

NBA players have been the most outspoken group of professional athletes when it comes to raising awareness following the killing of George Floyd by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin last week.

Their voices and their platforms — while helpful — won’t be enough. 

They need allies and the league’s head coaches are ready to do their part in bringing about systemic change. The National Basketball Coaches Association has formed a committee on racial injustice and reform.

“We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it,” the group said via statement. 

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Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said all 30 NBA coaches were on a call recently.

“One thing that I heard from a number of coaches, as white coaches we have a lot of responsibility here,” Stevens said. 

Like the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, bringing about the kind of wide-ranging, systemic change that so many are now championing can’t be done by one person or one group. 

“We may not be able to know the depth of the pain of colleagues that are black or players that are black, our assistants that are black, but we have a responsibility to not only be empathetic but also help drive change,” Stevens said. “You saw in the coaches association statement; you saw in the Celtics statement. We have all been in these conversations before. And you’re moved to drive change and sometimes actionable steps lead to what you think is progress but this sure doesn’t look like progress."

Stevens added, “What we need to do is play our part and make sure we’re part of long-term, sustainable change.”