Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has gone through a rough stretch over the past three months, with both on-the-court and off-the court concerns putting his name in the media spotlight. Despite enduring an avalanche of criticism during that time frame, Smith took to Instagram to offer a brief rebuttal to those intent on trashing him.
Much of the on-the-court criticism has been directed toward his brain cramp in the closing seconds of Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals. Grabbing a rebound off of George Hill‘s missed free throw in the closing seconds of a tie game, Smith inexplicably dribbled away from the basket. He ended up putting up a desperation shot that missed. The Cavaliers ended up losing in overtime before then getting swept in four games by the Golden State Warriors.
The 32-year-old Smith has also been the subject of trade rumors, while one report suggested that his role with the team would be diminished in the wake of LeBron James‘ departure. Finally, his off-the-court woes consisted of him reportedly being investigated by the New York Police Department for taking a fan’s cell phone away from him. That purportedly was the result of the fan attempting to take his photograph, with the claim also indicating that Smith allegedly threw the phone and caused damage to it.
In short, it’s been a time of turmoil for the veteran, who’s scheduled to earn $14.7 million during the upcoming season. While that type of paycheck might help explain a portion of Smith’s attitude, he also has a unique perspective about what’s truly important. That’s because just last year, he and his wife endured an emotional stretch of months following the premature birth of their daughter.
By the time training camp begins next month, Smith will be 33 years of age and will be beginning his 15th season in the NBA. His career has been filled with tumultuous times, so he has plenty of experience in dealing with criticism that will no doubt continue once the season starts.