Loving The NBA: JR Smith and Jarrett Jack Edition

JR Smith

JR Smith is famous for many things, including his chronic shirtlessness, as well as his unwavering commitment to shooting the ball, consequences be damned. There are fans who hold this second part against him – “Why is he shooting if it isn’t falling?!?” is entirely reasonable, given what it looks like when everything is going wrong for him – but JR Smith is going to be JR Smith.

Which brings us to his work on social media yesterday:

That’s JR Smith declaring his support for ESPN’s Jemele Hill. She was suspended for two weeks yesterday after allegedly violating ESPN’s Twitter use policy. She had been tweeting about the NFL, ongoing protests against police brutality, the newly-emergent threat of owners suspending players for opposing police brutality, and the ongoing possibility of boycotts. But because this came after she accurately described Donald Trump as a white supremacist two weeks ago, ESPN insisted that she had strayed too far and suspended her. This punishment is made all the more bizarre by the fact that those supporting Donald Trump have spent the last month openly talking about boycotting the NFL; Hill mentions the same possibility, but from a different perspective, and gets suspended.

JR Smith ain’t having that. He isn’t alone in noting that Hill is being held to a wildly different standard than all kinds of other people, including the president himself. And Smith’s political awareness has been on display for more than this single post, as he succintly summarized:

“I don’t feel like the flag represents what it’s supposed to at this point.”

Siding with Hill, it would appear, is part of Smith’s larger political platform, one in he is being frank about his feelings regarding the flag. Those opposed to player protests tend to believe that these players should not regard the flag in this way, and never ask themselves if it is reasonable to ask those treated very differently by their governments if they should have similar levels of regard for those governments. Such is the current political situation, one in players are tapping into basketball’s long history of social consciousness and protest.

These are strange times we find ourselves in.

Jarrett Jack

That said, basketball can also be an escape for people, an opportunity to get away from the nation’s ongoing conflagration, a place to see some of the world’s greatest athletes playing the world’s greatest game, doing things that the merest mortal humans could never possibly imagine. For example, they can see players attempting to score from three-quarters court and missing by, roughly, a million feet:

 

That is a real attempt at a full-court shot that is simultaneously a testament to Jack’s apparent arm-strength (he threw that ball for miles) and his apparently wanting touch (he threw that ball for miles). Jack has made long-shots in the past, but not this night.

For those wondering, Jack did literally throw the ball for miles, and even though he also missed by miles, throwing a basketball that far is very difficult to do. SB Nation’s Jon Bois did an entire video about trying to recreate the longest basketball shot ever made, Baron Davis’s 89-footer.

(Everybody should watch everything that Jon Bois does.)

 

Freaking Millenials

Several years ago, my father had a very mild heart attack. The doctors asked if he had a family history of heart trouble. He replied in the following way, “No, I don’t think so. I mean, my father had a heart attack, but he smoked, and his brother had a heart attack, and his father had a heart attack, and my great-uncle had a heart attack,” and while he was continuing to list every single male family member of his who had, in fact, had a heart attack, the doctors were turning to look at me.

“You’re next,” they said, which was worrisome.

As a result, I have continued to stay…well…passionate isn’t exactly the word…involved in my own health. I go a gym M-F and try to stay active on weekends. My father goes to the same gym – after a triple-bypass, he is likely healthier now than he was before the very mild heart attack.

Anyway, this is a gym at the local university, and it is staffed by both faculty and students. The students are young(er) (than me) which is by itself a criminal act but they are very nice and very helpful and I like going there very much.

Today, I went in wearing an NBA shirt that I happen to own and my student helper asked me, “Hey, are you a Clippers fan?” I said no, but that I loved basketball. “I only asked because I’m from California. I’m a Warriors fan!”

He was understandably very excited about his team. Any Warriors fan should be. The Warriors are great, even if they did blow a 3-1 lead in last year’s NBA Finals. I said as much to him. He said, “We didn’t have much to celebrate before that.”

I said, “Well, that’s true. You did have the Run TMC team, which was one of the all-time great What-If teams, but you’re too young for that, but you also had the Baron Davis Dunk and the Mavericks upset. That must have been pretty cool?”

This is the Baron Davis Dunk:

It is one of the greatest dunks in NBA history. It includes all of the following: an awesome dunk, over an awesome defender, in a playoff environment, in front of what was arguably the most-hyped NBA fanbase ever, with an announcer’s perfect call.

That dunk came after the greatest upset in NBA history.

This one:

Here is more about that upset.

His response to me having cited two of the greatest things about the Golden State Warriors? “Nah man, I don’t really remember any of that.”

So I killed him for being aggressively, unacceptably young.