JR Smith says the NBA blacked him out 100 percent after his 2018 finals mistake

One of the most infamous moments in Cleveland Cavaliers history occurred in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

In that game, former Cavs guard JR Smith took a chance to win the game in regulation time with just seconds left on the clock. The Cavs were incredibly overwhelmed in that series against the Golden State Warriors, and Game 1 would have been a crucial win.

Countless memes have been made over teammate LeBron James’ outraged reaction to the mistake.

Ultimately, the Cavs lost that game and the series in a four-game sweep.

Now, Smith has come forward to claim he believes he was “100 percent” blacked out by the NBA after making the costly mistake.

“Nonetheless, it seems that JR Smith is only remembered for his worst moment on the floor, as his mistake in Game 1 in the 2018 NBA Finals seems to play forever,” Complex’s Pierce Simpson wrote. “A moment that stayed with JR for the remainder of his tenure at Cleveland, during another championship — this time with the [Los Angeles] Lakers — and his sudden exile from the league. Something he felt was deeper than just his game. When asked if he felt left out of the NBA, JR was as open as he can be.

“‘Yes, 100 percent,’ he says. ‘Anybody can sit here and tell you that’s a fact.’”

It sure is an interesting take. This is especially true given that Smith’s career didn’t end after this season. He played 11 games the following season with the Cavs before the two teams split.

It was Smith who seemed more inclined to end his time with the then rebuilding team and certainly the hope on the team’s side was that it would be able to trade Smith for some future assets.

After that point, Smith could have accepted a buyout. Understandably, he seemed more interested in receiving the full amount of his remaining contract than accepting a reduced amount that would have allowed him to sign elsewhere.

He then remained unsigned until very late in the 2019-20 season, signing with none other than the Lakers, the team James joined after leaving the Cavs in 2018.

Smith only played six regular-season games for the Lakers but saw the court in 10 playoff games. He played a small role in the Lakers’ title win in 2020.

At that time his NBA career ended. By many metrics, he went on top by winning a second career championship.

Though Smith feels like he’s been blacked out by the NBA, it seems more likely he’s simply lost too much of what made him an effective player as he aged.

Hopefully, as time goes on, he can look back on the end of his NBA career in a more positive light.

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