J.R. Smith's reputation is that of a relentlessly fun, spontaneous player, and a bit of a clown. And that's fair. But it's easy to forget the serious turns Smith's career took up to this point, that is until you hear J.R. reflect on them. The Cavaliers' Game 7 victory fell on Father's Day, and here's what Smith had to say when asked about that -- with his father, Earl Sr., in the room watching:
I mean, my parents, my family -- that's the biggest inspiration in my life. I've been in a lot of dark spots in my life, and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to get out of them. But they are who they are. They followed me. They yelled at me, they screamed at me. They loved me. They hugged me. They cried with me. They always stuck by my side, no matter right or wrong. And I know a lot of people don't have their parents in their life -- their mother or their father -- but, I got the best two. You guys were, I swear. There's six of us and they didn't treat any of us different. They loved us the same. They treated us all the same, and I just want to be like them when I grow up. My dad is easily my biggest inspiration to play this game. To hear people talk bad about me, it hurts me, because I know it hurts him, and that's not who I am. And I know he raised better, and I know I want to do better. Everything I do is for my parents and my family. The cars is nice, the houses is nice, but none of this matters without them. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here. I don't know where I would be. Honestly, if it wasn't for them -- if it wasn't for the structure and the backbone that I have -- I wouldn't be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion.
Then, as reporters applauded, J.R. stepped off the stage and straight into the arms of his father for a big hug.
For more about the relationship between J.R. and Earl Smith Sr., and about the deadly reckless driving incident for which Smith once served 24 days in jail, I highly recommend Jonathan Abrams' piece from 2012.
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