Marcus Smart plans to "relax and have fun" in Rising Stars Challenge

After earning a spot in the Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA All-Star weekend, Marcus Smart is planning on doing something that doesn't come naturally to him. He is going to take his foot off of the gas pedal, and just enjoy the experience.

Via Tom Westerholm of

Smart, who was named to the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, was asked before the Boston Celtics matchup with the Denver Nuggets whether he planned to dive on the floor and take charges.

"Not many," the guard responded, smiling.

Smart is known around Boston, and most of the league for that matter, as a player who is going give 110 percent all game, every game. He will throw his body around, sometimes recklessly, and basically cause chaos all over the court. I can't imagine Smart playing at a lower clip because so much of what makes him great comes from his determination and non-stop hustle. So forgive me Marcus, for agreeing with ESPN Celtics reporter Chris Forsberg when he gave his thoughts about you toning it down for All-Star weekend:

Of course nobody believes him! In the year and a half that Smart has been with the Celtics, I can't think of a time when I saw him taking a play off or not giving it his all. So you can understand why people may have a hard time trying to wrap their heads around him not playing with the normal level of intensity that we as Bostonians have come to love.

Regardless of if you believe that Smart even possesses a gear lower than "Balls-to-the-Wall" is one thing, but he is not overlooking the the accomplishment. After being left out of this event during his rookie year due to missing extended time due to injury, Smart was surprised, but still excited, with the recognition:

"I thought I missed just as many games as I did this year, last year," he said. "I didn't get chosen last year, so I figured the same thing was going to happen this year."

Still, Smart said he was honored by the selection.

"It's a blessing," he said. "It's something you accept, and I thank God for giving me the ability to do it. I'm happy, and my teammates have been happy for me. They have been congratulating me and everything."

While Smart's offensive statistics may be behind other players participating in the Rising Stars Challenge, there is no doubt that he has as big of an impact on his team as an other rookie or sophomore.

Photo Credit: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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