BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics guard Marcus Smart is speaking out about the racism he’s faced in Boston.

Smart said the incident that has stuck with him the most happened right outside TD Garden when he saw a white woman crossing the street with her young son against the light.

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In a column published in the Players’ Tribune, Smart said he realized something bad was about to happen so he “yelled to her, politely.” The response, Smart recalled, was a series of profanity-laced comments that included a racial slur.

Smart said “For a second it was like I couldn’t breathe … And in an instant I was made to feel less than human.”

Smart said he still thinks about that incident and it reminds him that racism is taught.

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“No kid should be exposed to that. Our children deserve better,” Smart wrote.

Smart took part in the protests following the death of George Floyd.

“It was like, here we are out here standing up for our rights, and at the same time there’s a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic out here killing Black and Brown people at higher rates than everyone else,” Smart wrote. “There was no way I was gonna just sit idly by and let this moment pass. I’m too close to this. It means too much to me.”

Smart says this year has exposed what we need to work on as a country, but also the good that comes when the right people come together.

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He said he’s optimistic about the future, thanks to the young people who are working to make a change.