By Jessica Camerato, Boston.com Correspondent.
BOSTON — Marcus Smart heard his named called by the Commissioner of the NBA less than two months ago on Draft Night. When he received a call to throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game, though, that caught him by surprise.
“I was a little bit nervous,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘Are you sure you got the right person? This is a big deal. Are you sure you want me to do it?’ They said, ‘Yeah we’re positive, it’s you.'”
The Celtics rookie (sixth overall pick) took the mound at Fenway Park Saturday evening prior to the Red Sox game against the Houston Astros. He joked that he had tried to psych himself up in the mirror beforehand, reiterating that as an athlete, he could do it. He shook off the nerves and successfully delivered pitch over the plate in front of a crowd cheering for one of the city’s newest athletes.
“They’ve been great, interacting with me on Twitter and Instagram,” the guard said before the game. “That just really shows a lot about Boston and the city itself. They really love their athletes and they just want to get to know you.”
Saturday’s trip to Fenway Park marks another unique experience as an NBA player. While there, Smart met Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and snapped a photo together.
“I’m excited about that,” said Smart. “It was nice. He’s just like me and everybody here — a normal guy, just happened to have a great amount of talent out here on the field. But a normal guy, good guy, and seems like he’s fun to hang out with.”
The former Oklahoma State University standout is adapting to his new life, which includes responsibilities he didn’t have as a college athlete. At 20 years old, he is living in an adult world.
“Everything is on you,” he said. “You don’t really have anyone telling you, ‘Ok you need to do this, you have to be there.’ It’s on you. You have to be mature about things, on time, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. There’s no one there to hold you accountable for things.”
Smart will be able to learn from his teammates once workouts and training camp get underway. He talked to veteran Brandon Bass during Orlando Summer League and also got to know others on the summer squad.
As the summer begins to wind down, Smart is quickly approaching the start of his first NBA season. Throwing out the first pitch gave him a glimpse into being in the spotlight in Boston.
“This is another level right here,” he said.