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J.R. Smith criticizes Stephen A. Smith for saying he shouldn’t wear a hoodie on the bench

Stephen A. Smith said it would only cause white people to “revisit” Trayvon Martin, which is a bizarre statement.

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Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

J.R. Smith has responded to Stephen A. Smith, after Stephen A. criticized J.R. for wearing a hoodie on the bench, and J.R. is not pleased. Here’s what Stephen A. said, arguing that wearing a hoodie in that setting would only serve to remind white people about Trayvon Martin.

And in Game 1, when they played against Boston, J.R. Smith was sitting on that bench with a hoodie on. I don’t know why Nike made these damn uniforms that had hoods attached to it, by the way. You got a lot of white folks in the audience that are gonna think this is Trayvon Martin being revisited, and I’m not joking about it. The bench is no place for someone to be wearing hoodies.

I have no problem with hoodies. People shouldn’t be stereotyped and stigmatized for wearing hoodies. I totally agree with the Miami Heat, and Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen, and all those guys when they donned those hoodies back then, after the shooting of Trayvon Martin by wanna-be cop Mr. Zimmerman, who should have been convicted. But the bench? For a basketball player? Sitting on the bench with his team, that is no place for a hoodie. I don’t know why the hell Nike did that. They need to get rid of those damn hoodies. There’s no place for a hoodie. A hoodie shouldn’t be attached to a uniform that you can wear while you’re on the bench during a game, but J.R. Smith had it on.

There’s ... a lot there. Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012, and the shooting ignited racial tensions and briefly turned hoodies into a symbol.

This season, Nike replaced Adidas as the NBA’s new jersey supplier, and they added hoods to the warmup jackets that teams use before and during games. They stand far beyond just the viral Hoodie Melo memes — dozens and dozens of players are wearing the hoods during warmups and sometimes during games.

Here’s how J.R. Smith responded.

It’s a strange take from Stephen A., and J.R. is certainly in his right to respond. I’ll say this: anything can be a symbol in an appropriate context, but hoodies are a clothing item, and an increasingly popular one, at that. They are deeply ingrained in streetwear culture, which has taken off over the past five years and is connected peripherally to basketball culture. The NBA is in fact something of a leader in athlete style culture. It’s no surprise Nike added hoodies to their workout gear. I’m writing this post in a hoodie, and I didn’t plan that or anything. I was just wearing one. They’re in style, and they’re comfortable.

That’s probably the only reason J.R. Smith wore one on the bench, and nothing else.