When thinking of some of the many, many Lakers legends, names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant all come to mind, as does the likes of more modern players LeBron James and J.R. Smith...
...ok maybe not that last one.
While Smith is not a legend in the sense of having a jersey hanging in the rafters, he is a cult icon figure who is a former champion with the Lakers. Smith never played in front of Laker fans, instead joining the team in the bubble and playing all 16 of his regular season and playoff games in Orlando.
His tenure, though, will be as much remembered for his championship celebration. Obviously, it came shirtless and obviously he was one of the first Lakers to grab the trophy despite only playing 10 minutes over the Lakers’ final nine playoff games. It’s exactly what Laker fans expected of him and it was as incredible as anyone could expect.
Those moments in the bubble were the final of Smith’s NBA career and in his post-basketball days, he’s gone back to college to not just earn a degree but to play golf as well for North Carolina A&T, an HBCU. He’s shared his journey through each step with his followers on Twitter, including earlier this week when he was named the North Carolina AT&T Academic Athlete of the Year.
April 25, 2022
LeBron, a longtime teammate of Smith during their time in Cleveland on top of the brief time in Los Angeles, was quick to congratulate his friend for the accomplishment.
YESSIR @TheRealJRSmith!! Proud of you Kid!!! Love bro https://t.co/gqwOLnlcdw— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 26, 2022
Smith then replied looking recruit James to finally play competitive football as he’s always hinted at.
Let me know if you still want to play College Football we still got time!!!! #ItsNeverToLate https://t.co/FZj03BW3mL— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) April 26, 2022
Imaging LeBron playing college football is hilarious enough but doing so at a non-D1 school would be hysterical. Watching a 6’9”, 270 pound man go up for jump balls against poor walk-ons trying to just continue their football careers is quite the visual.
The real question would be, if James and Smith would team up to play football and were to win a trophy or title of some sort, would JR Smith still celebrate that victory shirtless?
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.