JR Smith is one of the most refreshingly honest basketball players in the NBA today. As someone who averaged double figure points for 11 out of his 16 seasons in the league, he proved long ago that he had the talent necessary to be a valuable contributor. But what has really endeared him to fans in recent years hasn’t been his skills, it has been his swagger and bluntness.
This week, Smith appeared on the ‘All Things Covered’ podcast with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden and talked about a variety of topics. One that stood out in particular, though, was his explanation regarding the only teammate he ever had throughout his lengthy NBA career that he did not get along with.
“During my whole career, there’s only one teammate I didn’t like,” he said.
“And he knows that. Everybody else I’d be cool with. Sam Dekker. I can’t stand him. He did some bulls*** on the bus one day. He was talking some s*** and I wasn’t having it.”
Smith didn’t stop there, though.
“He’s a person who’s just very aware of somebody else’s circumstances and wanna keep them there as opposed to try to help him elevate up, and I don’t respect anything about that,” he added.
JR Smith says he’s only had 1 teammate that he didn’t like over his 16 year career🤯
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) October 24, 2020
Fortunately for Smith, he didn’t have to team up with Dekker for too long. The pair played alongside one another only briefly on the Cleveland Cavaliers before Dekker was ultimately moved to the Washington Wizards in a five-team trade.
From there Dekker would go on to sign with the Russian club PBC Lokomotiv Kuban of the VTB United League and the EuroCup in 2019, and Türk Telekom of the Turkish Super League (BSL) in 2020.
That’s one way to do it. https://t.co/A8wvEa1kB7
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 26, 2020
Smith, meanwhile, continued to play in Cleveland. He would go on to win a championship there and then get signed by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 season, with whom he also won a title.
Because of how little playing time he earned in LA, Smith described his stint with the team as the hardest of his career.
“It’s fulfilling for me because it’s totally different,” he said.
Antonio Brown doesn’t mess around. https://t.co/6kepeWGtBV
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 25, 2020
“I was playing more during the first one and felt like I had a very important role in the game. In this situation, going through the playoffs and not really playing and trying to find my niche as a leader, as a veteran, trying to help the younger guys out in more of a coaching aspect of it, it was one of the hardest things I ever really had to do.
“I’m really sitting there watching from the sidelines, yelling for guys to be in the right position. It was nerve-wracking. So this one was almost as good as the first one. This two-time thing is feeling pretty good.”
Although he may not have had a prominent on-court role with the Lakers, Smith’s presence was invaluable in the locker room.
One way or another, Smith will continue to be one of the league’s more notorious names right up until the day he decides to call it quits.