Have you thought to yourself, "Hey, I know J.R. Smith has made $44 million in his NBA career, but if he ever decides to launch a reality show, I'd really like to help fund the venture for him." Well, you're in luck.
On Sunday, the day his Cleveland Cavaliers fell into a 2-0 NBA Finals series hole with a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, Smith launched a Kickstarter campaign in coordination with a man named David Fields to crowdfund "Team Swish," a so-called scripted reality show about the mercurial guard.
All Smith & Co. need is $450,000 from those of you who'd like to watch him interact with his family and bodyguard Freddy "Boom" Smalls, who counts Jessica Simpson and Mark Wahlberg among his celebrity clientele. Although, per the Kickstarter, "The only difference in this case is that Boom was hired to protect J.R. from himself." Fitting for a man once accused of choking a New York City teen who mocked his deal to Cleveland and whose first thought upon that trade was, "There's going to be nowhere to party."
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The campaign says in one breath, "There’s never been a better time to follow this controversial sports celebrity, he's truly a great guy, misunderstood; and he is playing in the NBA Finals." And in another: "J.R. is 100 percent focused on the Finals," so make of the this Kickstarter campaign's timing what you will.
While Smith may be no more high profile — and therefore no more likely to crowdfund $450,000 — than during his NBA Finals appearance, launching a reality show when you've scored eight points on nine shots over 70 minutes during two games that your team has lost by a combined 48 points isn't the best look. After all, during that same interview about Cleveland's lack of party spots, Smith also said this:
"If you're here for any other reason than to get better and help us win, then you're here for the wrong reason. And (LeBron James) will tell anybody that — he doesn't care. You could be mad at him or whatever. If you're not here to win? Time for you to go."
Granted, the time it takes Smith to delegate the project to Fields probably wouldn't prevent him from getting up those extra shots or watching a bit more film — and lord knows LeBron has his share of business ventures outside basketball — but it's more about the message the timing of the announcement sends: Basically, that he's already planning his offseason, even if he's not already planning his offseason.
None of this is to say the reality show wouldn't be great. There are real reasons to believe in the success of a show about the wedding Smith — a man whose sexually exploits are well documented — promised to "short-time girlfriend" Shirley after the NBA Finals and the opening of a Team Swish store in his native northern New Jersey with family members that include his older brother Chris — J.R.'s former New York Knicks teammate who has a tattoo of his little brother plastered across his back — and their younger brother Dimitrius Smith, who's apparently "on his way to a career in the NFL," according to a Kickstarter description that spelled the 305-pound Monmouth University senior defensive lineman's name wrong:
"One of today’s most recognizable players for the Cleveland Cavaliers, J.R. Smith, has made headlines for almost everything other than his hustle and extreme skill set on the basketball court. His notorious NBA bad boy persona consisting of late night partying, women, and all-out brawls, proved to be casual tabloid conversation. But, since his run-ins with the law and the loss of someone who meant the world to him, he’s learned his lessons and turned over a new leaf. Now, he is a loving father, a philanthropist, a reliable teammate and engaged to his sweetheart. It’s time to get to know “The Real J.R. Smith,” and it all starts at home."
You can almost hear Martin Landau's "Entourage" character pitching the idea to would-be Kickstarter contributors. If that indeed is something you'd be interested in, you can donate $5 for a Team Swish Wristband, $600 for a bunch of J.R. Smith swag, including an autographed jersey, or $10,000 for a speaking role and a producer's credit — or any number of various incentives between those extremes.
We can only hope Jae Crowder and the seemingly dozens of other NBA players who've been flagrantly fouled by Smith pony up the $10,000 to confront him on the show. By mid-morning Tuesday, Smith had raised all of $429 from 16 donors since the Game 2 loss, so let's just say the crowdfunding for his reality show — like Smith through his first two games of the 2016 NBA Finals — hasn't quite caught fire yet.
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