J.R. Smith must be stopped. On Monday night, the New York Knicks troublemaker pulled the headband of Dallas Mavericks veteran Vince Carter. While this move might not have registered as much in isolation, it looked like the recurrence of a bad habit after Smith's January fine for repeated instances of untying shoes. When will the menace stop?
It's anyone's guess, but the victim of the crime apparently isn't quite so concerned. According to Carter, it should all be taken as a joke. From Tim MacMahon for ESPNDallas.com:
"What's the drama? It was just funny to me," said Carter, who had hit 3-pointers on the previous two possessions when Smith tugged the headband over his left ear with 10:54 left in the Mavs' 110-108 win at Madison Square Garden. "It was just one of those things. He's a good friend. It didn't bother me.
"I hear everybody making a big deal about it, but he didn't pull it over my eyes where I couldn't see or play the game, so it wasn't a big deal. I know because it's him it's an issue, but I've known him for a long time. He didn't want me making any more shots. He was just joking." [...]
Carter, who scored a season-high 23 points and was 7-of-12 from 3-point range against the Knicks, also considers Smith's antics Monday to be harmless humor.
"Everybody had a little laugh on the side," he said, "then we didn't even think about it."
Clearly, Carter does not understand the gravity of playfully grabbing and pulling someone's headband in a manner that has absolutely no effect on the course of the game. Someone should teach this 16-season veteran what it takes to succeed in the NBA.
All kidding aside, Carter might see this as no big deal for three reasons: first, he played very well in a win; second, he has a sense of perspective; third, and most important, he has been a target of a lot of criticism in his career and can probably differentiate between an incident that actually gets people upset and something that passes the time between stories that actually matter. This one is most assuredly the latter.
So, I don't know, let's save the outrage for when Smith places a whoopie cushion on a teammate's seat on the bench. At least that joke is played out.
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