LeBron James and J.R. Smith are now intertwined in basketball lore: Smith for making what some believe is one of the worst moves in NBA playoff history, and James for his on-court exasperated reaction to it.
The LeBron reaction photo was soon turned into prolific memes of the “Crying Jordan” variety. All eyes will thus be on the LeBron James and J.R. Smith dynamic as game 2 of the NBA Finals kicks off.
J.R. Smith’s play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals became the focal point of controversy when he seemed to forget the clock and score in game 1. “JR Smith makes $13 million a year to play basketball, and didn’t know the score of Game 1 of the Finals with 5 seconds left,” wrote one Twitter user, summing it up.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. LeBron James Left a Press Conference After Being Asked Repeatedly About JR Smith
LeBron James didn’t want to talk about J.R. Smith’s play in the press conference after Game 1. Instead, he appeared to grow frustrated by reporters’ frequent questioning and eventually ended the press conference and walked out. “Be better tomorrow,” he appeared to say to one reporter.
LeBron James scored 51 points in the game, and the team still lost, which might have contributed to his frustration. However, he chose not to address the topic in much detail. The New York Post reported that James appeared especially frustrated with an ESPN reporter who queried about J.R. Smith.
2. Memes Mocked Smith’s & James’ Reaction
The memes were brutal.
To put it bluntly, it appeared that Smith had forgotten the score. LeBron James’ priceless reaction was the centerpiece for many memes and jokes that hit Twitter within minutes. First, here it is in slow motion again so you can see what people had to work with (namely, a lot).
Smith continued to dribble the ball as the clock ran out, robbing the Cleveland Cavaliers of a chance to score and win the game. The team then lost in overtime, making Smith the subject of mockery and anger on social media. Here are some of the best GIFs, memes, tweets and jokes about J.R. Smith, LeBron James, and Game 1. It appeared that J.R. Smith and LeBron James were about to supplant Drake in memeland. “Jr Smith memes bout to trump the Drake memes rn ???” one Twitter user wrote. Another declared: “Jr Smith is the goat.”
LeBron James became the subject of many memes because of his expressive reaction to Smith’s failure to appreciate the clock and score. James’ exasperation was golden fodder for people on social media. After all, LeBron scored 51 points, and his team still lost. Some of the funniest memes poked fun at LeBron’s reaction as if he’d become the new “Crying Jordan.”
That doesn’t mean J.R. Smith was off the hook.
Imagine being this poor Twitter user who wrote, “Can someone explain the JR smith memes i didnt see the game.” Another user wrote, “These JR Smith memes got me in tears ?” Concluded one woman, “JR Smith has me up past my bedtime crying at all these memes. Twitter never fails.”
Here are some other LeBron James reaction memes:
Or this version.
Some people took it a little bit farther than what actually happened in real life.
One can hope that J.R. Smith didn’t go on Twitter after Game 1.
3. LeBron James Said He Doesn’t Know Smith’s ‘State of Mind’
James did recount what happened in the final seconds of Game 1. “I knew it was a tie game,” he said. “We were down 1. George Hill went up, he made the first one. We got the offensive rebound, I thought we were all aware of what was going on. That’s my view.”
Asked repeatedly about Smith, he made one comment.
“I don’t know what J.R. was thinking,” he said, according to Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know his state of mind.” However, he later opened up a bit more about Smith, expressing confidence in the player.
4. LeBron Thinks Smith Will Bounce Back & Smith Wasn’t Sure of Anything at the End of Game 1
J.R. Smith and LeBron James have a long-standing relationship. According to Yahoo, they’ve known each other since high school.
What was J.R. Smith’s reaction to what happened at the end of Game 1? “After thinking about a lot the last 24 hours…I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point,” he now says, according to Sports Illustrated. At first, he had insisted he knew the score.
James said that J.R. Smith took the situation “as hard as anybody” but believes his teammate can bounce back. “He probably took that loss as hard as anybody the other night, LeBron said of Smith on NBATV. “One thing about J.R. is he has an uncanny ability to bounce back.”
5. J.R. Smith Has Said It’s a Lot of Pressure Playing With LeBron
J.R. Smith has spoken candidly about the pressure he feels playing with one of the best players of all time: LeBron James.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Smith said, according to Yahoo Sports. “Not for myself or my teammates, but just playing on his team. It’s almost… it’s a blessing and — it’s a gift and a curse. You play on his team, and you’re playing with the best player in the world and you get to witness some great historic things and be a part of it.”
“Then, on the other side, if you don’t help that person win, they’re looking at you, too. So it’s a lot of pressure, depending on how you look at it.”