Jacob Steinberg contributed to this article.
It’s become hard to describe in words who J.R. Smith is. At one point, he was considered a good NBA player. Another time, he was considered a good option off the bench. Now, he’s become the center of NBA memes for many years to come.
Why you ask?
Well, if you didn’t somehow watch the end of regulation Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, just watch this.
This isn’t the first time Smith has done something controversial or bone-headed in his career, so we at What The Sports have compiled our list of the best J.R. Smith blunders to date.
Many other publications have ranked some of their favorite J.R. moments as well, here’s For The Win’s list for comparison (yes, we have some of the same, so does everyone, get over it).
1. The Soup Incident
You thought the action on the court was his time to shine? J.R. Smith proved you wrong. In March, Smith was suspended for a game after throwing a bowl of soup at Cavs assistant coach Damon Jones. There’s no video for this, but if there were, it would probably look like this.
2. J.R. forgets the score, again
On January 3, 2014, while with the New York Knicks, Smith took and missed a wide-open three with 20 or so seconds left with the score tied, rather than running the clock out for a last-second shot. The Knicks would lose that game to the Houston Rockets, 102-100. It’s basically the complete opposite of last night.
3. You Make a Loop-de-Loop and Pull
In 2014, Smith was fined $50,000 by the NBA for untying Dallas Maverick Shawn Marion’s shoe while Dirk Nowitzki was shooting free throws. Not his brightest moment, but none of these are.
4. Is there a game going on?
Forgetting the score to a game twice is bad enough, but when you forget the game is going on while you’re on the floor, then you’re just clueless about life.
5. Rocky VI?
It’s hard to decide recently whether Smith is a basketball player or a boxer. Case and point, in Game 4 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Cavs and Celtics, things got chippy thanks to this hard foul from Smith on Jae Crowder.
So J.R. has clearly made some pretty stupid plays throughout his career. The real question to ask here is what is he thinking when this is going on? For that, I’ll throw it over to Jacob.
What the hell was J.R. Smith thinking?
In his postgame press conference, Smith later told reporters he knew the game was tied and was waiting to see if coach Tyronn Lue would call timeout. Although Smith has a reputation for not being the most intelligent player in the world, here are some possible explanations as to what was going through his head in the last 4.7 seconds.
Additionally, it is probably true that Smith was thinking these same things during all his previous blunders as well.
Hitting the Greens
To be specific, I’m talking about golf here, nothing else (wink wink).
In the conference semifinals, Smith was ecstatic not only because the Cavaliers swept the Raptors, but also because the sweep gave him more time to hit the links and work on his golf game.
Speaking with Scott Van Pelt about his green light to shoot during that series, Smith said, “It’s green right now, but not as green as that green I’m going to hit tomorrow.” After defeating the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s clear that golf is always on J.R.’s mind.
The quicker the Warriors eliminate the Cavaliers, the more time in the offseason Smith has to play as much golf as possible. After making the clutch late rebound off of George Hill’s missed free throw, he realized taking a high percentage inside shot would give the Cavs lead. This would most likely prolong the series. This is something he could not have happen, the longer the offseason the better.
Although it seemed like Smith was completely clueless in the moment, he actually put more thought into the process than you might think.
Drinking some Hennessy
Many NBA fans have bestowed the nickname of “Henny God” upon Smith for his love of the drink. Although Smith denied this love on Twitter in 2017, many still believe it to be true.
Another possible explanation for not knowing the score could be all Smith was thinking about was drinking a nice bottle of Henny after a tough hard fought game. Twitter had a field day with this idea, including this tweet showing Smith running straight out of Oracle Arena to a local liquor store for a nice fresh bottle of Henny.
Most people agree that the Cavaliers played one of the their best games of the whole playoffs last night, and what better way to cap off the night than a nice bottle of Henny. Other NBA players agreed, including Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid who sent out this viral tweet last night.
Smith can deny his love for Henny as much as he wants, but after last night’s late game collapse, we all know the truth.