Cavs’ JR Smith Blasts ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith For Hoodie Criticism

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Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith has put ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith on blast due to recent criticism that Smith directed at the Cavs sharp shooter for wearing a hoodie.

“In Game 1, when they played against Boston, JR Smith was sitting on that bench with a hoodie on” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said when discussing Smith’s return to the Cavs starting lineup last weekend.

“I don’t know why the hell NIKE made these damn uniforms that had hoods attached to it, by the way. You got a lot of white folks in the audience that are gonna think this is Trayvon Martin being revisited and I’m not joking about it.

The bench is no place for someone to be wearing hoodies.

Smith continued on with his rant.

“I have no problem with hoodies. People shouldn’t be stereotyped and stigmatized for wearing hoodies. I totally agree with the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen and all of those guys when they donned those hoodies back then, after the shooting of Trayvon Martin by wannabe cop Mr. Zimmerman, who should have been convicted.

But the bench? For a basketball player?

Sitting on the bench with his team, that is no place for a hoodie. I don’t know why the hell Nike did that. They need to get rid of them damn hoodies. There’s no place for a hoodie. A hoodie shouldn’t be attached to a uniform that you can wear while you’re on the bench during a game, but JR Smith had it on and he wasn’t happy. And psychologically, he can’t deal with the relegation [to the bench] the way Dwyane Wade dealt with it.”

JR Smith took to social media to fire back at the ESPN loudmouth over the weekend and on Monday morning.

Smith posted a series of tweets directed at Stephen A. Smith and held nothing back calling his show “trash” and stating that Stephen A. Smith is “always reaching”, among other things, and demanding that the ESPN host keep his name out of his mouth.

Smith, who kept his hoodie on during warmups ahead of the Cavs 123-101 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday, said the following to the media after the game.

“I mean, that’s ridiculous,” JR Smith said.

“Stephen A. said that me wearing my hoodie on the bench makes white people remember Trayvon Martin. For one, they should remember him. Everybody should remember him. But for two, I’ve always worn a hoodie. I used to wear my hoodie in New York.

“To bring race into that and for me, out of all people, why would you bring me into it? I have nothing to do with it,” JR Smith said. “I could see if you want to critique me on my playing, but don’t do that. That’s ridiculous.”

“And there’s 450-plus players in the league,” JR Smith added. “Since they put the hoodie [warm-ups] in, you see guys who don’t even play wearing it. So it’s not like it’s a just-me thing. Everybody, well not everybody, but a majority of guys wear hoodies.”

Smith even refuted the ESPN host’s claims that he had spoke to him about wearing his hoodie following the Cavs’ season opener against the Boston Celtics.

“It’s crazy because after our first game when we played Boston, I saw him in the tunnel and he said, ‘Be careful wearing your hoodie because people are going to mistake that for you not wanting to play because you’re not starting or you being frustrated,’” JR Smith said.

“I said, ‘OK, I can see that.’ But then you’re switching it up to say what you said [about Martin], it’s like, what are you talking about? It’s cool. I mean, I expect it. I should expect that at this point.”