Coach Del Negro, J.R. is picking on me!
J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks is cementing his reputation as the official clown of the National Basketball Association. His recent antics include air-balling a free throw and jumping in on a children's basketball game (then getting ignored).
It appears that J.R. intends to continue this silly streak.
In the Knicks' game against the Los Angeles Clippers two nights ago, Smith picked up the mischief once again by tossing a towel over Chris Paul's face during an interview. The Internet has decided that the proper term for this move is towel-bombing, and I am not one to disagree with the Internet.
Now a non-basketball fan might watch video of the towel-bomb, chuckle and think to themselves that this sort of thing happens all the time in sports. NBA players prank each other all the time, right? Sure, it happens among teammates all the time. What the non-basketball fan would fail to realize is that Chris Paul and J.R. Smith are not on the same team. They were on opposing teams, in fact, on the night of this particular incident. Of course, this doesn't mean that J.R.'s prank was malicious, but it does add a little extra "oomph" to it.
The reporter gets a real kick out of the whole thing until she turns around and sees an incredibly serious Chris Paul staring back at her. Her laughter ceases pretty quickly, and she continues the interview, which Paul completes without missing a beat. He was clearly annoyed by the towel-bomb, but he quickly dismissed it and went straight back to business. MVP mentality, I suppose.
Now before you jump to conclusions and say that Smith was totally out of line, remember that these two played together for a few years in New Orleans. They are probably pretty good buddies. In fact, for a short while, Chris Paul was recruiting Smith to play for the Clippers when Chauncey Billups suffered a season-ending torn Achilles last season, so it may be that these two are even closer than meets the eye.
Regardless, the move was unusual enough to be considered news, kind of like the now-infamous Blake Griffin to Chandler Parsons 'tap' scandal.
Smith is becoming one of my favorite players in the league right now just because of his antics. Some may like it, some may not. As far as I'm concerned, where there is no harm, there is no foul. Keep up the comedy gold, Mr. Smith. You can rest assured that there is at least one person out there who appreciates it.
Chris, the Clippers play the Knicks again in March. This is your chance to retaliate. Let's see what you've got.