I Fired Everyone
I kind of feel crappy, the Finals aren't helping, and I don't even know where to begin talking on the draft. So instead, how about some J.R. Smith Media Watch:
The The Rocky Mountain News, delivers a warm "keep your head up" piece. We get reminded how David Wesley's best friend Bobby Phills died when the two were driving Porsches fast. He's planning to call Smith, advise him on dealing with the pain moving forward. Silas chips in to encourage self-respect and honesty. Point: THIS IS A HUMAN TRAGEDY THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANYONE. Maybe, in private, Wesley or Silas think J.R. is out of control, but that's not the message they want sent through the media. It's not the morale of the story.
Then, over at The Denver Post, columnist Mark Kiszla, gives us the following shimmering harp of pleasant:
What's infuriating is Smith tried so hard to live the lyrics of a rap song that he could now become tragic inspiration for a rhyme about a professional baller who threw it all away.
Born to a good home, raised by two loving parents and made rich as a teenager by the NBA, Smith was so desperate for the street cred glorified by hip-hop culture that he became a poseur, thinking if he wore baggy shorts half off his bum, then maybe Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and teammates who came up from mean streets would accept him.
Smith is a gangsta wannabe who got lost in a dangerous game of make-believe.
How about this one:
On the Nuggets, however, Smith was forever stuck being the li'l bro, trying to dunk louder or act crazier to prove he belonged. It was as if he needed to impress Melo, K-Mart and Allen Iverson, who all grew up earning scars from gritty existences that Smith only knew from watching "The Wire" on HBO.
Although he flashed gang signs after making 3-point shots, Smith never really knew what he was doing. There is a song by 50 Cent in which the rapper warns the life is too dangerous for a wannabe gangsta. Smith was too busy drowning in a culture bigger than himself to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up.
Call me crazy, but how is a traffic accident a symptom of the gangster lifestyle? Plus last I checked, there was nothing "hard" or "real" about being responsible for your friend's death. This is just shitty circumstances, not a lesson for a troubled demographic. At least not beyond WEAR YOUR SEAT-BELTZ.
Since I'm grouchy today, I'll call it: making this into some kind of culture wars, generational divide, us/them conflict is just embarrassing. One kid is dead, another's life is painful and fucked-up. 'Tis not the time to start throwing around truisms about the allure of the street life. Especially not when they're thrown by this guy:
Oh, and I feel some obligation to distance myself from "he could now become tragic inspiration for a rhyme about a professional baller who threw it all away." Whether or not I might one day romanticize a crash-and-burn (no pun intended) J.R. saga, the implication that HIP-HOP DID IT is just fucking insulting. If Smith's career falls apart, like Eddie Griffin's, it's because he is unstable and impetuous beyond all social bounds. This is about an individual's choices and tendencies, not some mindless bouncy tattoo-canvas seduced by hip-hop fatalism. And if there is some psycho-social undercurrent to it all, it goes much further back, and involves a lot more, than four years worth of hanging out in the NBA.
UPDATE: Here's an interview with J.R. about his pre-NBA years, in the Post, no less.
Plus, I don't get why the "little brother" analysis leads to GNGSTR PUGRATORY. Oh wait, because his "bros" Melo and Iverson are "thugs." How silly of me.