Over his 16 year career, J.R. Smith created a lot of memorable moments. Unfortunately for him, his most memorable also happens to be one of his worst.
It was Game 1 of the 2018 Finals when Smith made a terrible mistake that many believe cost the Cavaliers the series. With just seconds left in a tied game, J.R. (who seemingly forgot the score) took the ball back instead of getting up a last-minute shot and essentially sent both teams to overtime.
It was a frustrating moment for Cavs fans and a mistake that defined Smith's career for years after.
After being given a chance to speak on those few seconds of play, Smith opened up about how nobody else on the team was willing to accept any of the blame.
“It was a island because none of the coaches said s—,” Smith said. “It was like nobody wanted to take responsibility for it, so you left me with it. You know what I’m saying? And it’s like, okay, cool. If that’s the way you want to play it, we can’t call ourselves a real team.”
J.R. only played 11 more regular-season games for Cleveland after the 2018 Finals, and LeBron left town for the sunny skies of Los Angeles. By all accounts, that mistake by Smith was the beginning of the end for that chapter of the Cavaliers' history.
"I'm happy that he made the decision to do that," Kevin Durant revealed in a 2018 interview. "Especially with the game on the line, we needed that win for the sweep."
That moment will no doubt haunt the former sharpshooter for the rest of his life, but he has done more than enough to be proud of his NBA tenure.
He's a 2x Champion, Sixth Man of the Year winner, and a bonafide shooter.
It's just a shame that he gets so much heat for losing a game that involved so many different factors.