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Cover Story Issue 22: The Real J.R. Smith

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UPTOWN_jr_smith_bleu_coverThe Real J.R. Smith

“I love it! Man, I love everything about New York.” Yelps an excited J.R Smith. Fresh off of his stint of playing basketball in China, Smith is back in the states and ready to don his blue and orange for the city of New York. 

Smith has overcome a knee injury, sibling brawls , and lawsuits to make his way back to the states. If any of excitement for New York translates into any of the vigor he will play with then the Knicks may be looking at a championship title very soon.

Welcomed back into a family of brothers like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler, J.R. was a familiar face when picked for the team’s 2012-2013 Knicks Roster in July.

Many may know all about J.R.’s rebellion on and off the court. There are articles upon articles about his multiple traffic accidents, bench warrants, lawsuits, basketball noncompliances and fines. But minus the cars, clothes, money and popularity, it’s difficult for people to see J.R. as an average 26 year old.

“In the next three years I want to have my own clothing line,” said Smith as the excitement echoed from his voice. “I also want to own my own tattoo business…and I really want my Foundation to take off.”

J.R. has set himself in the position to expand, not only his basketball career, but himself as a brand. As the king of a Nike empire, a clothing and tattoo business would be the perfect opportunity for Smith to expand his own identity and individuality. And with a Foundation, the basketball rebel reveals a calming inner need to contribute to his community while off the court.

As an avid tweeter and Instagramer, J.R. keeps his audience up to date on every aspect of his life, whether it’s good news or bad news. Over the summer, he was spotted riding bikes at 2 a.m. with fans in Times Square. One of the many photos Instagramed was of him in recreational gear: a light yellow tee, some sweats, sneaks and a Snapback on top of his foldable bike.

But according to J.R. even this wouldn’t be considered an “off” day outfit.

“It’s never an off day for me. Even if you have the frumpiest clothes on and you got swag, you can make that shit look good.”

Growing up his family was all about sports. So it was destined that J.R. would come straight out of high school, at 17, and play for the NBA.

“[With sports] there really wasn’t much time for me to get into trouble because I was so busy traveling and playing.”

As five brothers and sisters filled his home, they often got along with the help of his mom and dad. His dad, one of the biggest influences involved in his basketball career, taught him how to play at an early age. At the age of three, he was learning basics tips like shooting form.    

“Being 17 with 28, 29 and 30 year old basketball players, there was sort of a maturity aspect to it.”

 “I had a great opportunity to start earlier than most people. So while a few guys my age are only four or five years in, this is my ninth year. So it really helped impact my maturity level.”

A fan, J.R. loves to pay homage to one of his biggest basketball influences, Michael Jordan. As wall to wall sneakers compiled of Jordan’s line his closet, along with the occasional repeat pairs, they sit organized on shelving that oddly resembles book cases. 

“Jordan is the greatest of all times. He’s one of the reasons why I go so hard and push myself to be the best because I want to be…not better…but just as good.”

Smith also has a tattoo of the Jump Man logo and one of Jordan’s retro Chicago jersey’s in dead center of his stomach. 

“I don’t think I was addicted. Addicted is a pretty strong word. If you’re addicted you can’t stop. I can stop whenever I want, I just choose not to.”

Amongst the Jordan tattoos, J.R. is full of inspirational images and text on his arms, legs, back, stomach, chest, fingers and neck.

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A Connector of Millennial Multicultural Women. On a Mission to Celebrate and Share A Million of Those Womens stories over at @VAINLLC . The Go To Girl For Celebrity + Entertainment at EricaVain.com. Tweet or Instagram ME @EricaVain.

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