Team USA

Marcus Smart rips fans who rooted against Team USA at FIBA World Cup

Marcus Smart rips fans who rooted against Team USA at FIBA World Cup

Marcus Smart doesn't necessarily blame the NBA stars who chose not to participate in the 2019 FIBA World Cup this summer.

And he's well aware Team USA's seventh-place finish in the tournament is a failure worthy of criticism.

But the Boston Celtics guard still has a bone to pick with American fans whom he believes were rooting against Team USA while it was grinding away in China.

"That was tough for us," Smart told The Athletic's Sam Amick and Joe Vardon on the latest episode of their "Tampering" podcast. "We see and hear everybody back at home talking and really letting us have it, and it's like, hey, while you guys are sitting at home on your couch watching us, we're the ones out here actually putting in the work.

"We're the ones getting beat up. We're the ones getting hurt. We're the ones sacrificing our time, our bodies and things like that while you guys are sitting at home eating popcorn."

Celtics fans will recognize the passion in Smart's answer. The 25-year-old guard took on a leadership role for an undermanned Team USA squad that featured three other Celtics but was missing superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and James Harden, who all opted to stay home.

Smart, who appeared in five of Team USA's eight games in China while battling a leg injury, respects those players' decisions, but believes the resulting lack of support Americans showed Team USA didn't help his squad's cause.

"It's kind of sad that, while we go out here and play other countries that are all united -- their country is rooting for these guys -- we have some of our guys back at the house and fans back in America just rooting against us," Smart continued.

"It was really hard for us to go over there anyway, we were already at a disadvantage playing against other teams, let alone knowing that guys back at the house really weren't on our side. It was really us versus the world."

The world ended up winning, as France bounced Team USA in the quarterfinals. But Smart wishes his team had gotten a little more support back home.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Patriots' Nate Ebner employs Tom Brady for his video to fire up his former US rugby teammates

Patriots' Nate Ebner employs Tom Brady for his video to fire up his former US rugby teammates

Patriots special teamer and former US Olympic rugby team member Nate Ebner brought along a special guest in the video he tweeted to fire up his former teammates, who open up Rugby World Cup play Thursday against England in Japan.

When Ebner left Patriots training camp back in 2016 to play for the Olympic rugby team at the Rio Games, Bill Belichick wore Ebner's Team USA jersey at Patriots practice - a familiar No. 12. Could the coach be back in USA rugby gear at practice this week? Perhaps a Back The Boys t-shirt like Tom Brady wore in the video? 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.


 

Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive sit down with Enes Kanter

Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive sit down with Enes Kanter

New Celtics big man Enes Kanter sits down with Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg. A. Sherrod Blakely joins Kyle and Chris to discuss Team USA's impact on the Celtics, Jaylen Brown's impressive FIBA performance and whether Kemba Walker will step up and be the leader the C's need.

1:03 - Enes Kanter interview

21:56 - Team USA's seventh-place finish

28:34 - Did the Celtics get all they could out of playing for Team USA?

32:30 - Are the Celtics more likely to give Jaylen Brown an extension after his FIBA performance?

37:15 - Will Kemba Walker be the alpha the Celtics need?

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE HERE

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.