One of the NBA’s better war of words this offseason has come to us via Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Tracy McGrady. Their mini beef stems from the fact that McGrady believes it’s harder to get enshrined in Springfield than it is to win a ring. Smith, on the other hand, does not agree, saying it’s “dumb as hell” to look at the game that way.
Things went dormant in this disagreement for a few weeks, but on Thursday, someone asked McGrady his thoughts on Smith’s comments. McGrady decided to unload, mimicking Smith’s line by saying the Cavaliers guard sounds “dumb as hell.”
Additionally, McGrady wanted to clarify that just because he thinks winning a ring is easier than making the Hall of Fame, that’s not a knock on anyone who has had to work to get a title, even if that player was more along for the ride than a massive contributor.
“It’s not to take anything away from champions,” McGrady said. “It’s not. But it’s a true statement that you have guys that go throw an 82-game season and the playoffs, never play a game, and at the end of the season, they’re also gonna be a part of that championship team and win. And there’s probably gonna be some guys that will be out of the season next year and won’t get back into the league.”
So McGrady is right in that it’s easier to have a role like James Jones on the 2015-16 Cavaliers than it is to make it to the Hall of Fame, even if it does ignore that a lot still has to go right for a player to make it to that point. But the highlight of his answer to the question came when he took a shot at Smith for untying opponents shoes during free throws. He also made it a point to call Smith “Earl.”
“I get that he had an opinion,” McGrady said. “Cool, I’m cool with that. But the part that I took offense was, if I was your teammate, we would have been fighting. Nah, that’s what I took offense to. Like, come on, man. Then he’s like ‘Don’t play with me about ball.’ Isn’t J.R. Smith the same guy that’s untying people’s shoes at the free throw line? That’s the same … Earl, right? Earl Smith, Jr.?”
This is a silly debate over a pretty simple topic, but I never want the two to stop chirping at one another.