Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The fake outrage surrounding embattled Knicks guard JR Smith is maddening.

 It is overkill.

 It’s a bevy of internet/Twitter gangsters doing their best to pile it all on. That's how the mainstream New York media operates. 

These hacks anointed Eddy Curry as Tim Duncan's understudy after he dropped 39 on Milwaukee back in 2007. 

These are the same scribes who make Carmelo sound like Chris Dudley following a putrid loss. 

The media is akin to that subversive 16-year-old girl you hooked up with in high school, the girl who loved you on prom night yet abruptly stopped talking to you and spread tremendously fabricated rumors throughout school about you.

That's the mainstream NY media.

When you are winning, it suddenly sounds like can walk on water and rule the world with your eyes closed (see Lin, Jeremy, for more information).

You are immediately the toast of the town, the unrivaled savior and all-purpose healer for the franchise. Your jersey sales skyrocket; everyone wants a piece of you.

 When you are losing, you are not only a bad player, you are also a bad teammate and a pathetic and heartless human being.

Suddenly, the media has stumbled upon countless source-triggered rumors, explaining the level of discord you created inside the locker room.

According to a source close to the team, you were completely self-centered and put your individual desires and personal stats in front of the team's aspirations. You deliberately took ill-advised shots, according to the source close with the team.

It always snowballs. 

You go from making a few bad decisions under pressure to being a coach-killer and a bad person and a bad father who probably dabbles into drugs and smells a little funky, too.

That is what you get from this core of sensitive Knicks beat writers, a buffet-line of Mike Lupica wannabe jokers hell-bent on slaying someone with a potent 400-word barrage.

They love drama. They love unidentified-source triggered rumors. Hey, that is the nature of their business. 

The hype machine never stops, the manifesto of tabloid hate spreads  rather rapidly. You know the deal.

Yes, Smith is laboring through a horrendous season, shooting the ball at an arctic clip and creating more drama now than when he was out popping bottles and smoking blunts bigger than Shaq's shoe during the playoffs.

Since he pulled that advertent elbow on Jason Terry, who tried in every way imaginable to surface as a Knick nemesis, JR’s life in a Knick uniform has spiraled downhill. 

It has spiraled into an ugly abyss, with no signs of brighter days ahead.

Still, those who are quick to berate Smith for all the fines he’s accrued during his controversial career need to let it go.

This is not the JR Smith who gave George Karl fits with his erratic play and mindless shot selection.

 This is not the JR Smith who fought Nate Robinson after Carmelo Anthony (both were in Nuggets jerseys then) delivered a brutal haymaker to once-Knick Mardy Collins, the fatefulnight of December 16, 2006.

This is not the JR Smith who did jail time for reckless driving, culminating in a nightmarish accident that killed his tight friend Andre Bell.

That's a tragedy. A tragedy Smith has to live with every day.

Whether JR has smarted from his wounds, whether the kid who wore out his welcome in Denver and China has rectified maturity/professionalism issues that everyone is harkening back on, none of that matters now.

The mainstream media’s mass dissection of oft-criticized Smith is over shoelace incidents. The outrage stems from the fact that he untied a player's shoelace--twice. Get over it, move on.


Not a brutal flagrant foul that could have ended a player’s career, not a kidney shot, not a jaw-rocking cheap shot at the Palace in Auburn Hills which terrified young children in attendance.

We’re talking about SHOELACES.

Yes, it’s hard to play in New York. The constant media glare, the tabloid heat,  and the workaday pressure cooker created within the confines of “The Mecca of Basketball" have plenty to do with that.

Yes, J.R. has underachieved since that dreadful playoff suspension, when he lost his cool and sent Jason Terry to the floor.

Yes, there has been weed and bottles of Henny and late-night clubbing and senseless Twitter posts that would render him public enemy No.1 in any arena.

Yet, to think all of this over-magnified outrage is over a shoelace incident?

 Bill Laimbeer used to threaten to break players’ necks. Dennis Rodman, as electrifying as he was, relied on much much dirtier tactics.

Though it wasn’t on the NBA level, former Seton Hall forward Herb Pope and former George Mason guard Tony Skinn both were known as nutcrackers, sullying their image by hitting a player in the manly compartment.

But God dangit if J.R. has the audacity, nerve, and sheer disrespect for the game to untie poor Shawn Marion’s shoelace! He could have ended his career right there!

Larry Brown, once entrenched in a year-long war of words with Stephon Marbury during the Knicks' anemic 2006 season, said “Look at the guy talking.”

He was referring to Marbury, who openly criticized Brown's coaching style to the controversy-starved NY media.

Look at the guy, right now, who is NOT talking.

 Mike Woodson, looking to stake his claim as the disciplinarian his buddy Isiah Thomas never was, will not talk about why he benched JR against the Bobcats.

He won't divulge details about this player/coach feud or what triggered JR's second DNP-Coaches Decision in three games.

He won’t touch that subject, even though Smith shot 5-for-10 against Phoenix and was very much in the flow of the game on both sides of the floor.

Woody needs to drop the personal beef. This is about as useless as the D’Antoni/Nate Robinson situation a few years prior.  

Benching Smith will not change the Knicks' world by the weekend.

 Woodson has been a false suit as an Xs and Os coach, far from a wartime coach during the playoffs. He relies heavily on Carmelo's playmaking and allows Felton and the guards to get their heads knocked off, failing to design any plays or set picks for the backcourt.  

When the Knicks’ offense was as lackluster and dysfunctional as it was during the playoffs against Indiana, how did Woody adjust?

When the team went without set plays, instead relying on an isolation game, how did it work out?

When the Knicks major deficiency was a paltry 3-point shooting percentage, how well did Woodson utilize the team’s best shooters, Steve Novak and Chris Copeland?

JR is not the problem here.
 As easy as it is to peg Smith as the scapegoat, as much as his checkered past indicates Smith is a trouble-sparking prima donna baby who will smoke and drink his way out of New York, he really isn’t the problem the media is painting him out to be.  

The isolation-dependent coach, who whimpers and whines and gives the refs jarringly ugly sad-ass puppy dog looks, needs to let it go. No infraction is too harsh for an in-house punishment, a prolonged stay in the doghouse.

Woody needs to do the right thing and let it go.

Free J.R. Smith.