Players and coaches talk about Marcus Smart’s postgame backflip
By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
The signature moment of Oklahoma State’s monumental win at Kansas on Saturday didn’t come during the game.
It came right after.
Marcus Smart capped his virtuoso performance with some Marshall Henderson-esque postgame flair (minus the middle fingers), backflipping on the legendary Jayhawk as a goodbye salute to the stunned Kansas fans departing with the rare taste of home defeat.
“I was celebrating for a moment,” Markel Brown recalled. “Then I turn around and I see him doing backflips and I’m like, ‘Woah, what is he doing?’ ”
It was bold. It was acrobatic. And, in a way, it was disrespectful.
But above all else, it was signature Marcus Smart. Cool confidence from a rare breed of competitor, shining on the type of stage he was born to play on. Off the court, he’s humble and likable. But on it, he’s a ruthless bully, gladly exploiting any weakness he can find.
And those competitive juices were still flowing seconds after his game-clinching steal, which completed an end-to-end destruction of Elijah Johnson’s psyche (KU’s fifth-year senior point guard who was manhandled by a player four years younger).
The patented Marcus Smart backflip seemed right in the moment (it dates back to high school). But once emotions settled down, Smart rightfully questioned the blatant showmanship.
“He asked me after, ‘Did I go over the top doing a backflip on their home court?’ ” Phil Forte revealed. “I was like, ‘You got in the moment, that’s Allen Fieldhouse, who knows how many teams can say that.’ He wasn’t trying to make a statement, he just loves to win and in the moment, he wants to win more than anything.”
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