Twincities.com — The Associated Press circulated a photograph that appeared Tuesday in many newspapers across the country. It was a photo of the happy Cleveland Cavaliers getting off their airplane, returning home with the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, representing Cleveland’s first national championship in any sport since the 1964 Cleveland Browns of Jim Brown fame; Brown, I suppose, the Lebron James of his era in the old steel belt town.
Five Cavs are shown at the top step of their aircraft: James, holding the trophy above his head; Kyrie Irving; Kevin Love; Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, all of them eclectically clothed with the exception of Smith, who wasn’t entirely clothed.
He was shirtless.
I wondered if Smith flew all the way from Las Vegas — the Cavs went to Vegas to celebrate Sunday night — or if he just decided to take his shirt off when the team got to Cleveland. In either case I thought to myself, “Shirtless? Really?’’ Or, maybe because of all his tattoos Smith thought he had his shirt on.
Now, I understand that winning a title in any sport these days is a tremendous grind. It is exhausting. Money and the demands of television contracts have pushed all sports out of their season and into the next. The happiness factor at having it be over at last must be off the charts.
When you see these guys hold a Stanley Cup or a Larry O’Brien Trophy or the Vince Lombardi Trophy or the Commissioner’s Trophy in baseball there can be no doubt that you are witnessing relief of the highest order. And down on the field or on the rink or on the court a player might even tear off his jersey and twirl it around his head. But these were the Cleveland Cavaliers returning home with the city’s first title of any kind since 1964. They had done all their serious celebrating.
Am I asking too much that when you get off the airplane for the photo opportunity that you at least wear a shirt?
I know that the days of a team dressing up are long gone. And 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. I have seen that, by the way, but it was almost 40 years ago. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that year over the Boston Bruins and in all public functions — lunches, press conferences — the Canadiens wore their blazers.
I know young guys who worship James, Irving and the likes of J.R. Smith. These are young guys who have the hats and the jerseys and the moves on the court too, it being almost a comedy of irony that the young guys I am referring to are short. That doesn’t stop them from having the moves and the swagger, too, those moves where they tug their jersey away from their chest or their hands come out and they start floating them in the manner of perhaps trying to calm down the crowd.
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.
Because only the Cavs, or other celebrities, would be able to have such impact. Kids don’t care if you wear a suit to work every day. You are just a dad or an uncle or a neighbor going to a job that nobody sees. But J.R. Smith, now he’s somebody different. He just won an NBA title and every kid who knows the sport will know that, and more importantly, take note. Of everything.
It was a great title run by the Cavs. It isn’t too much to ask that when you get home with the trophy you at least give some weight to the moment by wearing a shirt.
On behalf of the kids I know, just a shirt, a shirt at the very least.
Have a day, Joe Soucheray… have a day! That is one HOT FIRE FUEGO MOLTEN LAVA INFERNO TAKE, my guy. That’s some shit, right there.
God knows what kind of sad pathetic life you live that you’d ever want to make this man put a shirt on ever again
But you know what… you did.
And guess what… against all odds… J.R. Smith listened…
He read your column… he understood your points… he, too, now sees the slippery slope of going shirtless in front of impressionable children. One day you have your shirt off celebrating your first championship, the next day you’re a thug on the streets, smoking drugs and listening to gangster rap and talking like a thug and joining a gang and soon enough, making a bad impression on more impressionable kids who’s parents aren’t gonna parent.
Can’t set that example for the children. Can’t have it. And I’m glad there’s at least one positive role model in JR Smith’s life who can teach him right from wrong.
So congrats, Joe Soucheray. Mission Accomplished. JR made a mistake, saw the error in his ways, and will from now on will, indeed, keep his shirt on #ForTheChildren
HEY SOUCHERAY HOLD MY DIIIIIIICK
That shirt was off faster than Frank Ricard at Mitchapalooza. And guess what… it’s staying off All Summer 16. JR might not put a shirt on until mini camp, because fuck it, why not? Who’s gonna tell an NBA Champions
You think some old white faceass crotchety racist out of touch MINNESOTA columnist is gonna tell JR what to do? JR’s teammates can’t even tell him what to do this summer…
It’s Tits Out For The Boys for JR from here until every last drop of Henny is drained from his system. Early reports suggest that might take a while.