It was a trying year for the Boston Celtics, who on Sunday finished the regular season at .500 following a loss to the New York Knicks.
Much of that frustration spewed from fans and media coverage of the inconsistent campaign, adding fuel to the fire of negativity.
But one passionate Celtics fan hoped he could bring some good vibes to the team as it gears up for the NBA’s play-in tournament.
And more importantly, to Marcus Smart’s foundation.
In an online fundraiser named the “People’s Tommy Point Charity Drive for 18,” paying homage to late Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn, fans raised $40,128.06 for the guard’s charity.
“To win the inaugural Tommy Award meant a whole lot to me. But to see this blow up by some people who just want to do good in the world is crazy,” Smart said on Twitter on Tuesday shortly after the drive launched. “I appreciate it so much and the YGC Foundation will put all this to great use for kids! I truly thank everyone involved!
Smart’s charity, the YounGameChanger Foundation, sets out to serve and empower underprivileged youth in inner cities.
Organizer Ryan Hebert, more commonly known as @Riffs_Man on Celtics Twitter, told NESN about his inspiration to get behind the cause.
“Pre-dating this season, I think the ethical considerations of consuming sports in general and online has changed or at least should change to reflect the changing dynamics in society, and I spoke about it initially on the “Gino Time Podcast” with Tom Westerholm,” Hebert said. “After that, Rich Levine reached out to me with the concept of a charity telethon, because I had been donating to the YounGameChanger every game on the Twitter timeline as a way to support Smart?s cause in a season where it felt like the dialogue around the team and its players felt unnecessarily brutal given the circumstances.”
The reasoning behind Hebert choosing Smart’s charity in particular is just as wholesome and well-intentioned.
“I chose Marcus Smart’s cause essentially because his life story is incredibly compelling,” Hebert explained. “He seems to really turn his hardships into a positive for a community that he?s readily and openly embraced from day one.”
Check out content from the charity drive, which included interviews with NBC Sports Boston play-by-play broadcaster Mike gorman, below.