J.R. Smith and Sam Dekker spent just a few weeks playing together on the Cavaliers in 2018. Dekker got injured then traded to the Wizards, who were the last NBA team to take a flier on the former first-rounder out of Wisconsin. Smith got long-term deactivated by Cleveland (then eventually joined the Lakers this season).
But Smith spent enough time with Dekker to form an opinion.
Smith, via “All Things Covered“:
Throughout my whole career, it’s only one teammate I really don’t like. And he know that. And everybody else, I’m just cool with.
This dude Sam Dekker, dog. I can’t – this dude. He did some bulls— on the bus one day, talking some Trump s—, and I just wasn’t having it.
For what the question he asked, it’s a thought pattern. You’re taught that. It’s not like – it’s the hate you give. And I feel like it’s something you’re taught. It’s not – the privilege he has was taught to him, and he took heed of it and run with it even further than somebody who was not – who was oblivious to what they have and what the life they lived. Because some people just go through their life – not not necessarily knowing, but not aware and privy to somebody else’s circumstances. He’s a person who’s just very aware of somebody else’s circumstances and want to keep them there, as opposed to try to help him elevate up. And I don’t respect anything about that.
This is pretty vague. Did Dekker merely support Donald Trump (whom millions of Americans support for a wide variety of reasons)? Or is Smith using “talking some Trump s—” as shorthand for racism, hatred, divisiveness or any other attributes commonly associated with Trump?
Of course, this is also only Smith’s side. Dekker might have a different perspective on the interaction.
But whatever was said, it clearly really bothered Smith. Players rarely speak so directly publicly about former teammates like this.