Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has been known to enjoy himself from time to time, out and about on the town, especially during his time with the New York Knicks. Since he’s been trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers though, Smith has said he’s turned it down a little bit, citing the lack of a Cleveland nightlife as one of the reasons.
One of Smith’s former New York Knicks teammates, Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, was recently involved in an incident outside of a New York club that ended with him getting stabbed, Atlanta Hawks players Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha getting arrested as well as Sefolosha breaking his leg and now missing out on the Hawks playoff run.
Smith knows about partying all to well, so he offered up some advice to those NBA players going out.
Following from ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
“For me, I feel like a target every time,” Smith said after Cavs shootaround Friday in advance of their game with the Boston Celtics. “So, I try to handle myself with care when I’m out and about. It’s one of those situations when you’re out at 4 in the morning — I’m not saying it’s [Copeland’s] fault by any means — but when you’re out at 4 in the morning, there’s no way you should be walking anywhere. Get in your car and go home or go wherever you’re going. That’s one of my cardinal rules. You don’t just stand outside of the events like that. You just get in and go and keep it moving.”
“Situations like that can happen anywhere,” Smith said. “It just unfortunately happened to Chris Copeland in New York. As far as it happening, it could go down anywhere. It could be in the nicest places, it could be in the worst places. It’s just one of those situations where you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
For once, I will admit, J.R. ‘Swish’ is right about this. Players need to be careful because there is a HUGE target on their back. Everyone knows you’re someone important, especially when you’re 6’8″ in a club, presumably buying out the bar for yourself or your friends and having a great time. Plus, the people who are regulars at the specific bar or club, are probably going to know you’re not from around there.
There’s always a target, no matter where you go as an NBA player. That’s why most guys have security everywhere they walk especially in New York City. There wasn’t one player I saw during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities that didn’t have at least one huge bodyguard. Some guys had 3 standing around them.
It’s all about being safe out here in a world full of crazy people.