I have known Marty Small since he was 14 years old.

I always liked him. As a former, long-time New Jersey certified basketball referee … I officiated Small countless times during his Atlantic City High School Hall of Fame career.

I liked his play on the court and I enjoyed the manner that he would “work” you as a game official.

Small did it in a manner that did not try to “show-up” the referee … but, you always knew that he was there.

If you missed a call, he would find a professional way to bring it to your attention. I never witnessed Small cross the line with his conduct.

Small was passionate, highly competitive and physical, but, I never witnessed him even foul out of a game.

I next followed Small at Stockton University. He almost blew his entire college career, however, former Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman gave Small a big break.

Small made the most of it.

Small recovered and went on to  record another Hall of Fame career at Stockton University.

On June 16, 2020, I took the rare step of personally endorsing Small in his campaign for Mayor of Atlantic City.

At the time, I wrote the following:

I rarely make personal endorsements, as few candidates seeking elective office are worth it. I'm making an exception in Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr's case because he's earned it. Hands down, Marty Small is the best candidate running for Mayor on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 in the Democratic Primary Election. Marty has been preparing for his entire adult life for this moment. The good news for Atlantic City voters is that time and time again, Marty Small has delivered. He always answers the bell. During his first months as Mayor, Marty successfully handled a very delicate transition when the position of Mayor suddenly became vacant. He managed it skillfully and he and the City didn't skip a beat. Then, he successfully managed the Coronavirus pandemic, conceiving and opening two testing sites in Atlantic City. Marty was a driving force in the recent ballot question, whereby the voters of Atlantic City overwhelmingly decided to retain the current Mayor - Council form of government in Atlantic City. Next, Marty displayed supreme leadership and courage when he stared down the violent out-of-towners who came to Atlantic City to riot, break things and steal merchandise in Atlantic City. Marty is also delivering a budget, which features a substantial tax decrease, while most municipalities and the County of Atlantic are preparing to raise taxes. Additionally, Marty's many years on City Council and his successful years as City Council President have also prepared him to continue as Mayor of Atlantic City. Finally, Marty has forged a great working partnership with the state of New Jersey. He has earned their respect and trust, without selling-out Atlantic City. Marty Small possesses a steady hand and the overall ability to serve Atlantic City well in this key position. As Atlantic City goes ... so goes the state of New Jersey. I was born in Atlantic City. I attended some of my grade school years in Atlantic City. And, I'm a graduate of Atlantic City High School, and, a property taxpayer in Atlantic City. Beyond that, it matters to everyone in Atlantic County who the Mayor of Atlantic City is. For all of these reasons, I unconditionally (personally) endorse Marty Small for Mayor of Atlantic City.

It is surreal to re-read these words almost four years later.

Something changed regarding Small and certainly not for the better. Exactly what happened to him is hard to say.

Small won multiple interim elections, with each victory keeping Small on a short leash … the demarcation line appears to be when Small won a full four-year term as Mayor of Atlantic City.

Small abruptly pivoted to a very combative and divisive approach.

Small has refused to work with New Jersey Senator Vince Polistina, calling Polistina (among other things) a racist. There’s not a racist bone in Polistina’s body.

Polistina is a team player and consensus builder. Small is the problem. He has become impossible to work with these days.

Small has also called Atlantic County Prosecutor Will Reynolds a racist, too. Reynolds is somewhat scattered and hyper in the performance of his duties … however, he’s not a racist. No way.

Where did the previous Marty Small go? The photo below is Small staring down looters and rioters during “The Summer of Love,” back in 2020.

Marty Small photo via Facebook.
Marty Small photo via Facebook.

Small was courageous and he demonstrated leadership. Where did this Marty Small go?

A myriad of rumors have been feverishly spreading throughout Atlantic City as of late that Small may soon face a new, potentially serious legal issue.

I have done everything possible to track down the specifics and cannot confirm the rumors … so, I will not spread them further here.

However, Small posted these curious comments on his ”ImMartySmall” Instagram social media account last Thursday, March 14, 2024.

13 Years Ago Today...My Co-Defendants and I were acquitted in the longest trial in the history of Atlantic County. It was a political witch hunt, wrote Small.


Why did Small post these comments?

Small has twice defeated the state of New Jersey, when he faced Atlantic County jury’s regarding a number of serious criminal charges.

Some believe that Small suddenly posted word of his previous exoneration from 13 years ago as a preemptive strike to counter what may be coming next.

Before it’s too late … I sure do hope that Marty Small can relocate his former self.

Only time will tell.

Atlantic City Area: Readers Share Favorite Childhood Memories

Gallery Credit: Harry Hurley

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