It's time for J.R. Smith to grow up.
Untying another NBA player's shoelaces is a cheap move, and it's the type of play that the New York Knicks shooting guard must eradicate if he ever hopes to be taken seriously. If the public backlash wasn't enough to convince him of this, perhaps the NBA's fine will.
Per Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling:
J.R. Smith has been fined $50,000 for recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct, it was announced today. #Knicks— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) January 8, 2014
Sure, $50,000 isn't much to Smith, who is making $5.565 million this season, per ShamSports.com. That's literally only 0.9 percent of his yearly salary.
But it's the message that matters. This type of behavior isn't going to be tolerated, and it's likely the NBA ups the penalty if this becomes more of a recurring issue than it already is.
Smith doesn't seem deterred:
The fines eventually add up. Via ESPN's Brian Windhorst:
J.R. Smith fined $50K by NBA for tying players' shoes at foul line. By my count J.R. has now been fined at least $910,000 in career— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 8, 2014
Smith first untied the sneakers of Shawn Marion during a Jan. 5 game against the Dallas Mavericks:
That one was slightly ridiculous, partly humorous, but still unacceptable. But it was just J.R. being J.R., right? B/R's Ben Leibowitz called it "a bush-league move by Smith, who is having an abysmal season."
It was the second attempt that was even more embarrassing for Smith, especially because he couldn't even successfully complete what's quickly becoming his trademark move.
Despite being warned by Mike Woodson before the game (per Jared Dubin of Bloomberg Sports), Smith still went for it:
Woodson was pretty vocal before the game that JR can't/shouldn't be doing the shoelace thing and he already tried tonight.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) January 8, 2014
Again, it's time for Smith to grow up, a sentiment that Woody must surely agree with at this point. Via Tommy Beer of HoopsWorld.com:
Mike Woodson, on ESPN radio, says JR Smith's latest antics are both "unprofessional and unacceptable."— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 8, 2014
"This has got to stop. I keep saying it each time, but this has to stop... Something has gotta be done. It has to stop." Woodson on JR Smith— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 8, 2014
"At at the end of the day, he (JR Smith) has got to grow up." - Coach Woodson. Woody said he would address issue with Smith tomorrow.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 8, 2014
Can you blame the head coach for being a little frustrated?
What do you think about the penalty Smith received?
Smith needs to start focus on making an impact on the basketball court. Preventing the Knicks' season from unraveling is far more important than untying another man's shoelaces. At least it should be.
But there's no telling whether or not typical logic applies to Smith. He may just be too busy thinking about his next shot to care.