While J.R. Smith sat at the end of the bench as his Knick teammates were surprising the Miami Heat last night, a Yahoo! sports writer was putting his final touches on a scathing column about the embattled New York guard.
Smith was fined $50,000 by the NBA this week after the immature act of untying the sneakers of opponents during several NBA games. With that incident this week, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski decided to take a look at Smith’s entire career since entering the NBA out of high school. After Smith, then a member of the Denver Nuggets, was jailed four years ago for causing the death of a close friend due to reckless driving, Wojnarowski spoke to him:
“Smith sat inside a New Jersey country club, and told me how the death of his close friend, caused by Smith’s recklessness behind the wheel, had changed his life. From the guilt over the death, to a summer in a prison cell, to wanting his young daughter to never have to keep reading about his misdeeds, Smith vowed to be a changed man.
“I think I was a follower to an extent,” Smith told me. “If someone would ask me to do something that was on the borderline, more than likely I’d say, ‘OK, let’s go.’ Now, I think I see the bigger picture finally. …I think I need to mature and understand what I say before I say it, and what I do before I do it.”
And since then? He started the season under suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He was fined $25,000 two years ago for posting an ass-shot of a lady friend on twitter. He was fined $25,000 this season for a Twitter beef with Brandon Jennings. Smith has been involved in fights, including one that in 2006 that led to a 10-game suspension. And he was fined $1 million by his team in China, where Smith played during the lockout season. And, as Wojnarowski writes, here’s part of the reason why:
Perhaps his greatest excess of idiocy had been a weekend of running a room service bill into the proximity of $3,000, a source with direct knowledge told Yahoo Sports. He kept ordering food, stacking piles of trays upon trays – “just to see if they would keep bringing it to the room,” the source said.
You would blindly think that all of Smith’s transgressions were the result of a young man growing up in difficult surroundings with little family guidance, right? Wojnarowski calls it all a con:
“J.R. Smith was raised in a suburban, middle-class home with two good parents and access to an excellent education. He had a tremendous high school coaching mentor – Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J. –and he has long been taught the difference of right and wrong. Smith’s always loved to play the part of a tough city kid, but truth be told, he’s a soft, spoiled suburban jump-shooter.”