J.R. Smith wants out of Cleveland with one championship in his name. He will definitely be remembered well by Cavs and non-Cavs fans. What for? That is hard to say. After all, J.R. Swish has a lot of swish and miss moments in a Cavs jersey and that made him one of the most interesting NBA players of recent memory.
Let us look back at the Top 7 J.R. Smith moments since donning the Cavs uniform in 2015.
7- Accuses team of tanking
With LeBron James gone to Lakers, many expected the Cavs to plummet. And indeed, they are a mess, holding the lowest win-loss record among all NBA teams. From 38 primetime games last season, they now only have seven this year.
Cavs currently have the worst defensive rating among 30 teams and are 26th in offensive rating. JR Smith does not think they are losing because the team is not competitive enough. He believes they are intentionally not trying to win for next year’s draft.
“I don’t think the goal is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can,” he told The Athletic.
On the other hand, Tristan Thompson said at the start of the season that they’re still the team to beat in the East being the Eastern Conference Finals Champions. Obviously, TT sold that statement well to JR.
6- ‘Cavs in 7’ Tweet in 2017 Finals
This Twitter post was immediately deleted but even without any evidence, it will not be that hard to convince people that Swish really did tweet it.
The Cavs have came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals before but in the situation they were in, this was a silly tweet. Cleveland were already down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors and unlike the year before, the Warriors already had Kevin Durant in the line up.
The tweet was deleted after just 15 minutes. Smith said his account was hacked and he’s “smarter than that”.
Cavs won Game 4 but they were beaten in Game 5 and GSW won their second Larry O’Brien trophy.
5- Catching up with Jason Terry mid-game
Jason Terry and JR Smith got into an altercation 5 years ago but have since patched things up becoming friends. They are so close now that Smith decided to prioritize checking on his friend instead of playing defense.
The Cavs shooting guard was dapping up with fellow veteran Terry, who was with Milwaukee Bucks, during a game. However, since the game was going on Tony Snell was able to use this as a diversion to easily dunk the ball.
Explaining the Shaqtin’ a Fool incidence, Smith shockingly said, “I didn’t even know I was in the game. My bad.”
Can you believe he was on the Bucks bench?
4- Supreme tattoo
The NBA has rules about displaying brand logos or names during games. Iman Shumpert was told to remove the Adidas logo in his hair. Rasheed Wallace heard the same when he sported a temporary tattoo bearing an unnamed candy company logo.
JR Smith upped the ante. He had it tattooed permanently on his leg. As expected, the league felt it violated its rules. Smith was not having it. “I swear I’m the only person they do shit like this to!,” he wrote on Instagram. “Because it’s me it’s a problem all of a sudden!!! Shit whack.”
He also explained to Complex that he got the Supreme logo tattoo because of his kinship with the brand and cleared that he is not receiving payment from it.
“[Supreme] represents the streets,” he said. “It represents that gritty, weird…personality. And that’s what I represent as a person.”
3- Throws ball of soup to coach
In March of 2018, Smith was suspended one game by the Cavaliers for throwing a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones.
Smith sat out the 108-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers but the team confirmed that the shooting guard did not play because of the incident with Jones. Was the soup hot? We will never know as then coach Tyronne Lue declined to discuss it any further.
2- Shirtless celebration
If there is going to be a campaign against wearing tops in public, JR Smith will be the shoo-in ambassador.
Days after winning the 2016 NBA Finals against the Warriors, the Cavs went to the streets to celebrate with fans. On social media, JR Smith stole the show for not wearing a shirt at all during the whole parade event.
Where did his shirt go? SB Nation has a comprehensive account of JR Smith’s day from their Vegas Championship party to their Cleveland parade and everything in between.
Swish continued his shirtless ways when he attended a Cleveland Browns game in September.
and here we have jr smith celebrating shirtless in first energy stadium pic.twitter.com/ON9VI0Wfja
— paco (@AllaireMatt) September 21, 2018
1- Series-defining flub during Game 1 of the 2018 Finals
“I don’t want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland,” Smith told The Athletic a few days ago in reference to Cavs’ losing record at the start of the 2018-19 season.
How will you remember his legacy as a basketball fan? He is a champion, for sure. However, his absent-minded play during the closing seconds of NBA Finals Game 1, again against the Warriors, will be hard to shake.
They had the chance to win, which could have changed the series big time. But J.R. was not aware of the surrounding. He thought they were in the lead and decided to melt the clock by holding on to the ball. They were not. The game went to overtime and they lost. James’ 51-point performance, probably among his Top 5, went for naught.
Shortly after, Smith became a laughing stock on the internet. Cavs never recovered. They bowed in 4. LeBron left. The Cleveland economy was in shambles. And the Cavs are back to the drawing board for a No. 1 pick.
That moment is definitely not a swish.
How about you, what do you think is Smith’s most memorable moment with the Cavs?