Los Angeles Lakers veteran guard JR Smith revealed during an appearance on the All Things Covered podcast with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden that the only teammate he ever had that he didn't like was Sam Dekker.
"Throughout my whole career, it's only one teammate I really don't like. And he know that. And everybody else, I'm just cool with," Smith said. "... This dude Sam Dekker, dog. I can't—this dude. He did some bullsh-t on the bus one day, talking some [Donald] Trump sh-t, and I just wasn't having it."
Smith further elaborated:
"For what the question he asked, it's a thought pattern. You're taught that. It's not like—it's the hate you give. And I feel like it's something you're taught. It's not—the privilege he has was taught to him, and he took heed of it and ran with it even further than somebody who was not—who was oblivious to what they have and the life they lived. Because some people just go through their life—not necessarily knowing, but not aware and privy to somebody else's circumstances. He's a person who's just very aware of somebody else's circumstances and wants to keep them there, as opposed to try to help him elevate up. And I don't respect anything about that."
You can see the segment at the 35:40 mark below:
Smith and Dekker were briefly teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018. The 26-year-old Dekker last played for the Washington Wizards in the 2018-19 season, averaging 6.1 points in 38 games while shooting 28.6 percent from three.
In 2018, Dekker found himself in the public eye after he took issue with an article his former teammate at Wisconsin, Bronson Koenig, tweeted out. The article stated that white people have no culture, arguing that what is perceived to be white culture is the result of colonization and the appropriation of other cultures and traditions.
"The culture of white people is the culture of death," Lorena Wallace wrote for Terra Incognita. "It is a culture of endless war, desensitization to human suffering, and the upholding of a brutal individualism fueled by greed. It is a deep, dark hole of grief and of loss. We don't even know what we lost. We don't know our ancestors. We don't have stories of creation and hope and family; only stories of destruction and genocide."
Dekker argued against that premise on Twitter. He tweeted: "Don't put it in my face that being a white guy is something I'm supposed to be ashamed of. I'm proud of who I am and so should you. But you're Native American and also white BK. This article speaks very many untruths about most of our 'culture' that we supposedly don’t have..."
Dekker was on the Los Angeles Clippers at the time, and when one fan of the team tweeted he was "embarrassed" Dekker was a Clipper—it was only four years prior that former team owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after he made racist remarks—the former Wisconsin forward responded: "All I tried to say was to be proud of who you are. That's it. No need to bring other people down. I don't see the problem in it but you're entitled to your opinion."
It's unclear if there is any overlap between Dekker's comments at the time and the things he said to make him the only teammate Smith hasn't liked in his career, though both occurred in 2018.