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Marcus Smart warns young NBA players to take COVID-19 seriously

Marcus Smart leaned on firsthand experience when issuing a warning to young NBA players this week that the coronavirus is not something one should take lightly.

The Boston Celtics star recently expressed some concern ahead of the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Fla., later this month that younger players are failing to grasp the gravity of what contracting the coronavirus could mean to them.

Smart, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, believes veterans bear some responsibility in pointing young players in the right direction.

“Us older guys, and especially guys who have had COVID, like me, really express and really chewing down on the fact to take it as serious as possible,” Smart said during a video conference with reporters Tuesday, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston.

“I think the younger guys are going to have some skepticism but I think as veteran guys and other guys on the team, we’ll have to do our part to keep those guys, I guess, in a sense, under control and just understanding that although you might not take it as serious, you’re putting other people at risk and they take it seriously, so you have to respect them.”

Smart added in his comments that the biggest issue with COVID-19 is how an asymptomatic person can pass the virus on to high-risk individuals who could suffer grave, perhaps even fatal, consequences due to a positive diagnosis.

The NBA has established stringent protocols for coronavirus testing as well as other procedures that it hopes will mitigate the possibility of rampant transmission of COVID-19 in the Orlando bubble.

Still, as the issues Major League Baseball is now experiencing as it prepares for its return document, simply having a meticulously detailed plan doesn’t necessarily mean things will operate smoothly.

As Smart suggests, however, the players themselves will bear a large part of the responsibility to ensure a lower-risk environment in an NBA restart tentatively scheduled for July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.