Stop reading those articles about how LBJ is the new MJ, or about how Steph Curry is washed, now that the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are over. You can stop reading them because the hottest of all hot takes officially launched into the webosphere Tuesday: "Soucheray: Even for an NBA champion, is a shirt too much to ask?" It included the name of the reporter who wrote it—Joe Soucheray of the Pioneer Press—which is important because he must be auditioning for Skip Bayless' recently vacated role as King of The Trolls at First Take.
The op-ed focuses on NBA champion J.R. Smith and his shirt, or lack thereof, in the aftermath of the Cavs' championship win Sunday.
"I thought to myself, 'Shirtless? Really?' Or, maybe because of all his tattoos Smith thought he had his shirt on," Soucheray wrote.
He bemoans the fact that athletes no longer have to dress up, making him the only NBA spectator that misses former commish David Stern and his dress code.
"I would be naïve to expect that a winning club in any sport would feature the blue blazer, the gray slacks and the striped tie," he wrote. "I have seen that, by the way, but it was almost 40 years ago."
And then comes the kicker: "I wonder what impact it might have had on kids all across the country to see the Cavs get off their airplane dressed to the nines. I would think it might give a kid pause. Wow, look at those guys. I have to get a tie like that."
In the words of the great Charles Barkley, "C'mon, man." It's an op-ed, and Soucheray is free to express his opinions, sure. But Smith, shirt or not, is an admirable icon for kids. Becoming an NBA champ is not easy. As much as we clown on him, do you really think Smith could've made it in the NBA, let alone contribute to a championship team—even one that fields LeBron James—without a strong work ethic?
And Smith's moving post-game speech espousing family values and his love for his father was one of the most powerful things to come out of the Finals. But all Soucheray wants to focus on is the fact that he didn't wear a shirt.
Smith should feel free to clothe himself however he likes—even if that means going shirtless. He has the glow of a championship win, and he's just trying to feel its warmth. Smith helped bring the first major sports title to Cleveland in half a century, so it shouldn't matter what he was wearing when he did it.
And for what it's worth, Smith did put a shirt on briefly earlier on Wednesday.
However, he has since removed it.