J.R. Smith choked an opponent because he played physical defense during a pick-up game. The opponent was unnamed and does not play in the NBA, but did play for the D-League’s now-defunct Colorado 14ers. (NBA Fanhouse)
Denver Nuggets shooting guard J.R. Smith was involved in an altercation at the team’s practice facility on Aug. 13, when police arrived after a player not associated with the Nuggets claimed to have been attacked by the mercurial 24-year-old.
After numerous sources told FanHouse of the incident, the Denver Police Department confirmed it on Wednesday afternoon.
“We did have a report of an altercation that took place at the Denver Nuggets’ practice facility,” Detective John White of the Denver Police Department told FanHouse by phone. “That case was investigated and ultimately presented to the district attorney’s office. … Ultimately, the district attorney’s office, after being presented with the findings by the Denver Police Department, decided not to pursue charges.
“We were called to that location about an incident possibly involving Mr. Smith. When we got there, the officers conducted their investigation. It did involve Mr. Smith.”
According to a league source who spoke with one of the people in the gym, numerous players were taking part in drills when members of the Nuggets’ coaching staff told the player who later called police to be physical with Smith.
“They were just wanting the guy to be physical with J.R., telling the other guys, ‘Hey, body up on the guys and really make them work,’” the source said. “J.R. just lost it. He tried to choke the kid, and the kid called the cops.”
I saw someone on Twitter try to defend Smith’s role in this story. I forgot who it was, but it was a respected blogger or reporter who said something like, “I’m not against J.R. Smith. Bums in pick-up should know their roles and not get over-excited.” Wow. So it’s some guy’s fault that he was choked out? Just because he was playing physical defense? Just because he was trying to make J.R. Smith work? Please. Unless this unnamed defender was throwing elbows above J.R.’s neck area or worse, there’s no excuse for choking someone out. I’ve played in plenty of physical pick-up games with guys who were over the top. You tell them to cool it and move on. Or push them back. Be physical right back. One thing you DON’T do, under any circumstances, is choke them out. That’s crossing the line, no matter how physical someone is playing against you.
But this unnamed guy? Umm, is he serious? I assume he’s trying to make the NBA, since he played in the D-League and is playing pick-up against the Denver Nuggets. And you know what? By calling the police, he just got black-balled by every team in the league. Fanhouse may not know his name, but I bet you every single GM in the league does by now. Unless this guy felt threatened for his safety, he should have taken his medicine, stopped playing such a physical game, and let it go. Because now he’s known around the league as the snitch who called the cops after a pick-up game got heated. Fair or not, he’ll be seen as a whistle-blower. That’s just the way of the world. Snitches get stiches, not NBA contracts.