Watch J.R. Smith’s Tearful Post-Game Dedication to His Family

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Last night emotions were running high on the court after the Cavs completed a miraculous comeback from a 3-1 deficit–the first of its kind in NBA Finals history–to defeat the Warriors and win Cleveland’s first major sports title in over a half-century. Guys were jumping around, hugging each other, and crying, and tears fell profusely from a guy named J.R. Smith.

Smith is one of the NBA’s most notorious players. He developed into a viable offensive threat as a Denver Nugget, playing alongside two of the most dangerous offensive players of their respective generations, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, and became a polarizing figure years later when he was traded to the Knicks. The New York press tore into Smith every chance it got, and he gave them legitimate reason to on several occasions. There were nightclub incidents, the general notion that he was overrated and shot the ball too much, and didn’t go out of his way, at least in the public’s eye, to prove that he was a selfless, team player.


Still, LeBron James and the Cavs saw something in Smith and his teammate, Iman Shumpert, and traded for both of them in January of 2015, just months after LeBron announced that he was returning to Cleveland to bring a ring to his home region of Northeast Ohio. Smith immediately appeared humbled–that tends to happen when you’re playing alongside one of the greatest players to ever live in his prime–and, more importantly, became one of the Cavs’ most dangerous assets. A not-too-shabby perimeter defender that could, on any given night, erupt for 7 3-pointers in a game.

Last night, Smith’s 180-degree career turn was completed when the final buzzer sounded, and his emotions bubbled over at his post-game press conference. With his father watching from the audience, on Father’s Day, Smith tearfully explained how important his family and upbringing were to his maturity and development, and how much he hated when the press tore into him, mainly because he knew it hurt his father.

Afterwards, Smith got up, tears still falling from his face, walked over to his father, and embraced him as an NBA Champion for the first time.

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