Phil Forte

Marcus Smart forges bond with childhood friend Phil Forte through tough times

Marcus Smart forges bond with childhood friend Phil Forte through tough times

This Wednesday is Marcus Smart Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Smart throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Spurs-Celtics.

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"He's a big kid," Phil Forte says of Marcus Smart.

Forte, now an assistant coach at Sam Houston State, has been friends with the Celtics guard from when the two were not-so-big kids growing up in Flower Mound, Texas.

He recalled when their friendship was really forged at an AAU tournament after he had had enough of Smart picking on him when in an elevator together while traveling as AAU teammates.

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"So I reach over and just kind of muscle him in the face," Forte said. "And I thought, Oh, no, I've just poked a huge bear. I'm in an elevator so I can't move. I can't run. But he didn't do anything. So, from that moment, our friendship really took off."

The two would go on to be high school teammates and play together at Oklahoma State. 

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Forte remembers a bond with Smart's family that was so strong that in high school Marcus' mother Camellia referred to him as his other son on the team when asked who she was cheering for. 

"She was like my second mom," Forte said of Camellia, who died in 2018.

Watch the full interview with Forte in the video above. 

Don't miss Marcus Smart Day and NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Spurs, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.