There’s nothing like two old friends cutting it up about their playing days.
Reminiscing about the good old days is something that any athlete, at any age, and at any level of competition can relate to.
It was nothing but laughs from the two.
Warm Memories; Icy Goals
J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert on what they were thinking when they were traded to the Cavs. 😂
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 6, 2022
In particular, Shumpert described what Smith told him when the pair was traded back in 2015.
At first, Shumpert was not thrilled:
“We got traded, and I’ll never forget. My heart dropped. I’m sick. Until they told you [Smith] where we was going. And I remember you looking at me and saying, ‘No, Tape. We going to Cleveland..’ You looked at me like, ‘Dog. I don’t think you see what I see. But we fittin’ to go get some jewelry.’”
Shumpert’s initial dismay over a trade makes sense.
He and Smith were both playing for the New York Knicks at the time.
And though the Knicks weren’t particularly competitive, the Knicks are still the Knicks.
Or, rather, New York is still New York.
So unless Shumpert was heading to Los Angeles, he was naturally going to feel some animosity about leaving one of the largest media markets in the world.
But Smith knew where the pair was headed.
And in truth, the move was an excellent one for both players’ careers.
Teaming Up With The King
Both players landed in Cleveland to, as Smith put it, “get some jewelry.”
And that they did.
Smith and Shumpert appeared in the next three NBA Finals, from 2015 to 2017.
Shumpert, to his credit, was a solid backup in Cleveland for several seasons, before bouncing around the league.
Smith was particularly impactful in 2016, exploding for 65 threes in the postseason, a franchise record.
Further, in Cleveland’s comeback against the Warriors, Smith averaged double-digit points, a major offensive boost.
Smith went on to team up with James again in 2020.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced teams into the playoff bubble, Smith and the LeBron-led Lakers defeated the Heat to win the Finals.
Unfortunately, most probably remember Smith as a meme.
"This meeting could have been done in one email!" pic.twitter.com/GhkZufTaTT
— Jay Rigdon (@jayrigdon5) June 1, 2018
In the 2018 finals, Smith grabbed a rebound late against the Warriors.
It was going to be a decisive one and Smith clung to the ball, all too happy to run out the clock and bring the Cavs a win.
Except, a slight problem.
The game was tied.
And Smith ran out the clock on his own team.
Preventing them from winning.
And LeBron let Smith know as much.
I’m sure Smith really worries about that while shining his two Finals rings in between classes and golf tournaments with North Carolina A&T, where he enrolled after retiring.
And that’s a jewelry collection that would make even Tiffany’s blush.