J.R. Smith opens up about about the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James’ hair, family, and finally growing up in the January issue of GQ.
“I was petrified,” J.R. Smith tells GQ’s Devin Friedman about his trade from the New York Knicks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Seriously. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought: The weather is gonna be horrible. There’s going to be nowhere to go out to eat. There’s going to be nowhere to party.”
Though he’s not living out his basketball fantasy, J.R. is experiencing his coming-of-age in Cleveland: He’s committed to LeBron’s team, his team. “You would never go out and party on this team,” says J.R. “Once you’re on a team like this, you’re just so locked in. When you see someone like LeBron in the gym around the clock? Usually it’s the guys who want to get better so they can get more playing time who are always in the gym. But if you’ve got four MVPs, two championship, two Finals MVPS…” Not to mention the sense of expectation from LeBron: “If you’re here for any other reason than to get better and help us win, then you’re here for the wrong reason. And he’ll tell anybody that––he doesn’t care. You could be mad at him or whatever: If you’re not here to win? Time for you to go.” Despite LeBron’s intensity, it doesn’t keep J.R. from having fun with him and the rest of the team. When asked about the hairstyle of the Cavs, J.R. replies, “I tell him [LeBron] all the time: You can’t have it all! You have to give up one thing, and it just so happened to be your hair. If someone told me I’m gonna give you $600 million but I’m going to take your hair? Take my hair!”
The Cavs aren’t the only thing J.R. is committed to these days. He proposed to the mother of one of his daughters. “I couldn’t keep jumping onto another ship without knowing the direction it’s going,” says J.R. “I’ve been with some of the most quote-unquote beautiful women in the world. But they’re so ugly on the inside.”
So what does J.R. want from the end of his career? How does he hope this story ends? “Hopefully just win a championship,” he confides. “I’d like to get greedy. But just one… As long as I’m part of it…. I guess if I could write my ending, it would be: ‘Even though he was a quote-unquote knucklehead, he finally got it right.’”
To see the full story, including the photos, shot by Ture Lillegraven, go to:
Photo credit: Ture Lillegraven/GQ