The One True Champion
OAKLAND, CA. Sunday, approx. 7:47PM PST. The sound of the final buzzer of the 2015/16 NBA Finals, Game 7, rings through the air. On a normal night it would be loud. Tonight, it is drowned out by the loud cheer of the outnumbered Cavaliers fans and players. There is joy in the air, it’s palpable. Earl Joseph Smith III takes off his shirt and gives it to his father. We will never see his shirt again. It is gone forever. Shirts were the domain of Earl Joseph Smith. J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, does not wear shirts. He has transcended them.
I don’t think there has ever been anyone as deserving of the NBA Championship as J.R. Smith. I also don’t think we, as a collective group of basketball enthusiasts, have done enough good in this world to deserve J.R. Smith, NBA Champion.
Ever since taking off his shirt, J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, has admittedly not put one on for more than 30 minutes since. He didn’t have it when spraying a “fan” with champagne in Vegas. He didn’t have it when the Cavs got off the play in Cleveland. He didn’t have it when he ran into some redditors at 3 goddamn AM on a weeknight in goddamn Cleveland (the city that will never stop partying while J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, lives). He definitely didn’t have it at the parade when he hoisted a kid up Lion King style into the air and presumably yelled Simba, or the JR Smith, NBA Champion, version of Simba. And more importantly he never had it when he campaigned for president.
We now live in a post-shirt world. Some say that he gave his shirt to his father, others say that they’ve seen it floating around Las Vegas, entangled with wind-gusts in a way that it could only have been choreographed by God himself. However, the the shirt has simply ceased to be, it has transcended into a higher state of being as it disintegrated into thin air. It has served it’s purpose. It was not needed. Shirt are for mortal people. J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, is beyond shirts.
But let’s talk about shorts. The shorts seen in all these photos are clearly the NBA shorts worn by J.R. Smith, regular dude, when he became J.R. Smith, NBA Champion. These shorts have lived through the moment and made it through to the other side to tell the tale. Now as they remain on J.R. Smith, NBA Champion’s body to this day, to this very moment, soaked in Hennessy, they will be the last surviving witness of the victory tour that will shape the world.
Here is the thing, he is not even done yet. I would not be surprised if he took the Larry O’Brien trophy to strip clubs, strip malls, strip outlets off the beaten I-95 in Florida. Strip EVERYTHING. It will be with him forever and always because if you think J.R. Smith, regular dude, was care free, just you wait until the world gets the full, unfiltered and unadulterated version of J.R. Smith, NBA Champion. And the best part, this version gets to meet the President of the United States.
He might buy a regular club, he might buy a strip club, he might buy half a block of Cleveland property and turn it into a regular club that turns into a strip club if you walk through the right hallway. He will most definitely build a mini Hennessy production line somewhere in or around his house (possibly in the basement).
These things are a given. What scares me is what we don’t know, because we definitely didn’t know it was going to be like this. We didn’t expect that J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, would be such a god given boon bestowed upon us, undeserving mortals. Who knows where life will take him next. If I was J.R. Smith, NBA Champion’s shorts, I’d seriously be looking up and wondering where my buddy went and showing signs of concern for my very own eventual disappearance into the lore of NBA history books.
Year 2016, NBA Season Opener, QUICKEN LOANS ARENA: The crowd is deathly silent. You can drop a pin in the arena and it would reverberate like a thousand explosions. The only sound is the soft yet weirdly stern voice of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver slowly naming the 2016 NBA Champions, Cleveland Cavaliers one by one. They all come up to receive their rings, all wearing their newly redesigned Cavs jerseys. All but one. J.R. Smith, NBA Champion, approaches the Commissioner atop a segway, a plastic red cup in one hand, backwards cap on his head. He is shirtless, his number and the Cavs logo tattooed upon his championship body. They go to shake hands. FADE OUT.