The former Boston Celtics teammates were at the center of controversy during the 2020 playoffs when they reportedly had to be separated in the locker room. Brown has been open about their clashes, telling NBC Sports Boston last year that he and Smart “have been through fights and headlocks, all types of stuff.”
“You don’t even want to know the details, I promise,” he said at the time.
Brown and Smart’s tenure as Celtics teammates ended last June, when Smart was sent to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that brought big man Kristaps Porzingis to Boston. The C’s visited the Grizzlies on Sunday, and although Smart was unable to take the court, the reunion gave Brown a chance to reflect on his relationship with the veteran guard.
“I couldn’t stand Marcus at first,” Brown said with a smile. “I love him now. Sometimes you just grow and mature. As young men, you learn things about people. You learn why people are the way they are. Stuff that goes on behind closed doors.”
In their final few years as teammates, Brown and Smart put their differences aside and built a close friendship.
“Me and Marcus, we didn’t start off great,” Brown added. “I wasn’t the biggest fan of Marcus when I first got to Boston. A plethora of reasons … you name it. Over time I realized that me and Marcus have similar spirits and like if I was going to war with anybody, Marcus would be one of my first phone calls.”
“I couldn’t stand Marcus at first, and I love him now… if I was going to war with anybody Marcus would be one of my first phone calls.” @FCHWPO talks about how his relationship with @smart_MS3 changed over the years pic.twitter.com/KEK1zxx3ch
Brown and Smart played together in Boston for seven seasons (2016-23). They reached the playoffs each of those years, though Smart never got to accomplish his longtime goal of bringing Banner 18 to TD Garden.
Brown and the Celtics have a golden opportunity to complete that goal in 2024. With Porzingis and Jrue Holiday now in the fold, the C’s are 10-2 to start the campaign and widely considered favorites to win it all next June.