J.R. Smith was recently pulled over and cited for operating a scooter without a license, getting nicked on Saturday while bounding around at moderate speeds while visiting Miami's South Beach.
(No, we did not have the opening paragraph to this post stored away on our computer, ready to use when the inevitable, "J.R. Smith was busted while driving a scooter in Miami" story came down the pike.)
The original story was first picked up by various pop-up/malware heavy sites that we won't link to before finding a home at TMZ and later Pro Basketball Talk, and there's really precious little from the incident to add.
While Smith wasn't exactly pulled over for doing his best Ace Face impression (he was only cited for the license issue, and no other crime), and while it's pretty silly to ask people to have a second license merely for scooter operations, it's pretty daft of Smith to be doing whatever he did (police can be pretty needlessly terrible to drivers who, to their eyes, look the part; but Smith had to be doing something annoying enough to get pulled over) considering his driving history.
Most NBA fans know that Smith was behind the wheel of a vehicle that ran through a stop sign four years ago and into a head-on collision. Smith's friend was tossed from the vehicle (neither he nor the friend were wearing seatbelts, as Smith decided to ignore the sign), and died later that night. At the time of the crash, Smith had amassed 27 points on his driver's license, including five speeding tickets. And it's not as if that particular crash cooled him off any -- he picked up two more speeding tickets and three license suspensions between that fatal crash, and the trial that took place just 15 months later. The guy just doesn't seem to care about anyone else on the road, and scooter jokes aside, there's not a whole lot to respect there.
So maybe it was an overeager police officer, looking to fill up a quota at the end of the month. And making one mistake in June of 2007, albeit one with the severest of consequences, shouldn't prevent someone from tooling around on a scooter four years later if you do have a valid, regular driver's license. I'm sure I was with you upon hearing this story in not knowing that you needed a separate license to drive a scooter, and even without one I wouldn't think twice if someone handed me the keys to his Vespa to make a little stroll in before Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday night.
But Smith's relatively minor addition to the overall pretty nasty lineup of offenses? It still looks pretty bad. Hopefully the smallest infraction yet won't be trumped by anything more serious later on.