During the 2018 NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were going against a juggernaut of the Golden State Warriors headlined by Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

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Massive underdogs in the series, James and the Cavs, who had JR Smith on the team, had the Warriors on the ropes in Game 1. Then one of the most significant accidents in NBA history occurred; JR believed the Cavs had a 1-point lead and began t0 dribble out the clock instead of working for the last shot. The game would go to overtime, and the Cavs would lose that game and every other one in the series. JR Smith became a meme.

During his appearance on I Am Athlete, JR Smith spoke about the moment, saying it haunted him.


“I’ve been asked this question in certain situations but I’ve never felt as comfortable as I do in this element to say what I really wanted to say,” Smith says. “I ain’t gonna lie bro, I used to dream about that. I was in a depressed, depressed state because I really thought, ‘This is why I’m not in the league.’”

Smith would get another shot in the league, winning with James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers in the NBA Bubble. Despite that, Smith believes the negative press of the moment impacted him not being in the league now.

“I know I’m still better than a lot of people who are still playing,” Smith said. “If I ever get to the point where I’m sick of the game, cool [I’ll retire]. But I’m not at that point. I’ve got a whole lot left in the tank.”

The entire episode is available here where Smith talks about life in the bubble, how George Karl ruined the Denver Nuggets, and more.