Despite the fact LeBron James is in Los Angeles, J.R. Smith still matters if only for his style and tendency to put his swoosh-laden shoes in his mouth. Never was this more true than when he was asked if he'd talked to the NBA about the report he'd be fined every time he played without covering up his new Supreme tattoo.
"No. For what?" Smith said after practice on Tuesday. "I don't talk to the police. That doesn't do anything for me." The analogy might seem a bit forced, but Smith had to turn himself in to the NYPD earlier in the summer for a criminal mischief charge, stemming from a phone-throwing incident outside a club earlier in the summer.
Smith pointed out the hypocrisy of the league's stance with other players—Marcin Gortat with the Jordan Brand's Jumpman logo visible on his lower leg, and Carmelo Anthony with the Warner Bros WB logo etched on his shoulder to celebrate his West Baltimore roots—prominently displaying their own ink that also has ties to a brand.
"They just said it's branding," Smith said. "But I'm not the only person with brands on me so it's more than that. I know that. They know that. Everyone knows that."
Here's a refresher on the NBA's statement about the tat:
Smith and Supreme have a history, too, so it's not like he got the tattoo isn't based on actual affection for the brand. "It was a partnership on both sides," Smith said about Supreme x Nike collab he modeled in earlier this year. "They felt as if I would be a perfect athlete for it. I felt that I would be too. They reached out to my representation and we got the deal done. It's a perfect fit. I love it."
Despite their professional partnership, the brand isn't compensating Smith for the new ink. "I got the tattoo the other day, my guy Rico in the Bronx did it for me," he said during an excursion with Sneaker Shopping earlier in the summer. "There was a lot behind it. People were like, 'Are they paying you for it?' and I was like, 'No,' so they were like, 'What are you doing it for?' And I was like, 'That's who I am.' That's why I am who I am. It worked out."
Hopefully, the NBA backs off their stance because it doesn't look like JR is willing to wear something to cover up the new ink; although, it would rankle NBA executives and remain on brand if he wore a Supreme sleeve to cover it up during games.