J.R. Smith explains why Black NBA players don’t acknowledge Howard Stern during Knicks games

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Howard Stern recently made headlines by suggesting that Black NBA players don’t talk to him at games because he’s white.

“They put me courtside! And the Black players won’t come over and say hello to me,” Stern told Robin Quivers during a radio show. “But they go over to Spike Lee.”

“They don’t acknowledge you at all?” Quivers asked.

“No. I’ll be sitting next to Tracy Morgan or Chris Rock,” Stern continued. “You know, they seat you where they seat you. And a lot of times when I’m there, I’m next to Tracy Morgan, who is so funny. And he’s sitting there and like, a couple of the players will come over. They like give him that bro shake and stuff. And I’m like — these guys should hug me too. I mean, what am I? I grew up in a Black neighborhood, you know what I mean? I mean they should know that. But I get ignored.”

Others have responded to Stern’s comments by arguing that players in today’s NBA simply aren’t very familiar with his work or who he is. When it comes to former Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, it seems like that’s exactly how he feels about the situation.

Stern is 69 years old and doesn’t seem terribly well-known amongst many younger folks these days. That could explain why he feels as though he isn’t getting much love at NBA games, as many players are likely too young to remember his biggest years.

While Stern remains a big name in some circles, the basketball world may not be one of them.

As for Smith, he’s often active on social media to offer his opinions on trending topics. The 37-year-old is likely still getting used to life as a retired NBA player, as it was just a few years back that he was still active in the league.

Smith’s last action came in the 2019-20 season, when he won a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. His run with the Lakers gave him his second NBA title, as he also earned a championship during Cleveland’s unforgettable 2015-16 campaign.

The New Jersey native started 21 games during the playoff run in 2016 and certainly left his mark along the way. Although Smith’s stint with the organization had its fair share of ups and downs, no one will ever be able to take away what that 2015-16 group accomplished.

He’s surely keeping a close eye on the 2023 NBA Playoffs, though some Cavs fans are likely still getting over their team’s quick exit in the first round. Cleveland was eliminated by the New York Knicks in five games earlier this postseason, bringing an otherwise fun Cavs season to a disappointing close.

The Knicks, whose home games are sometimes attended by Stern, are still alive following their series victory against the Cavs. New York is currently locked in a second-round battle with the Miami Heat.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.