J.R. Smith and Sam Dekker were only teammates for about four months, but that was apparently enough time for the two to not get along with one another.
Appearing on a recent episode of the “All Things Covered” podcast, Smith revealed that Dekker was the only player in his NBA career who he didn’t get along with. Smith has had many teammates, playing for five different NBA teams from 2004 to 2020, so the fact that he didn’t like Dekker really stands out.
“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,” Smith said. “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.”
When asked to elaborate, Smith provided a pretty vague response.
“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 ran with it even further than somebody who was not — who was oblivious to what they have and the life they lived. Because some people just go through their life — 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 wants to keep them there, as opposed to try to help him elevate up. And I don’t respect anything about that.”
In the same year (2018) Smith and Dekker were teammates, the latter found himself in headlines after comments he made on social media. Dekker had a problem with an article his former teammate at Wisconsin, Bronson Koenig, tweeted out. The article was headlined: “White People Have No Culture.”
In response to Koenig tweeting this, Dekker said in a tweet: “Don’t put it in my face that being a white guy is something I’m supposed to be ashamed of. I’m proud of who I am and so should you. But you’re Native American and also white BK. This article speaks very many untruths about most of our ‘culture’ that we supposedly don’t have.”
It’s not clear whether that incident played a role in Smith’s relationship with Dekker. It happened in the same year, but the tweets happened in June, before Dekker was on the Cavs via trade in August.