It was an emotional night for the Cleveland Cavs Sunday after their historic win in game 7 of the championship series.
But what stands out as of the most touching moments of the night was J.R. Smith’s beautiful tribute to his parents and his family. It hasn’t been an easy road for him in his 12-year NBA career, but he made it clear that its his family that has held him up and kept him going. Overcome with emotion, Smith could barely get through his statement about his loved ones without tears streaming down his face.
I mean, my parents, my family, that’s the biggest inspiration in my life. I’ve been in a lot of dark spots in my life, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to get out of it. But they are who they are. They fought with me. They yelled at me, they screamed at me, they loved me, they hugged me, they cried with me, and they always stuck by my side no matter right or wrong.
I know a lot of people don’t have their parents in their life, their mother, their father, but I’ve got the best two you could ask for, I swear. There’s six of us, and they didn’t treat any of us different. They loved us the same. They treated us all the same, and I just wanted to be like them when I grow up.
I mean, my dad is easily one of my biggest inspirations to play this game. To hear people talk bad about me, it hurts me because I know it hurts him, and that’s not who I am. And I know he raised me better, and I know I want to do better. Just everything I do is for my parents and my family. I mean, I don’t really — the cars are nice, the houses are nice, but none of this matters without them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t know where I would be, honestly. If it wasn’t for them, if it wasn’t for the structure and the backbone that I have, I wouldn’t be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion.
Smith’s father, Earl Jr. Smith, watched the whole moment and appeared to be holding back tears himself. At the end of his son’s words, the two hugged, melting all of our collective hearts.