CHICAGO - A few times in my uneventful love affairs, long before I was sentenced to life through marriage, girlfriends have broken up with me. It hurt like hell because rejection is suppose to sting.
And while I have since moved on unhappily ever after, I found solace in the fact that my exes at least had both the candor and the fortitude to tell me in person that I had already, sadly, been unloved.
When J.R. Smith lost his starting shooting guard slot with the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple days ago, he found out about it through a text message from head coach Tyronn Lue.
To borrow a line from the Black Eyed Peas, Where is the love?
J.R. Smith wished he knew.
"We didn't talk, he told ESPN. "(Tyronn Lue) sent me a text (Monday) and I told him, 'No problem.' I didn't know that it was a 'talk.' I'm not upset about it. I just wish there would have been more dialogue, I guess," Smith added.
Just as editors have the prerogative to correct and polish a writer's work, coaches have the authority to tinker with the roster as they see fit. Lue doesn't owe Smith an explanation regarding the lineup change but he owed his player the courtesy of a face-to-face talk.
Maybe I'm old school, or just old. Or maybe I'm a silly, hopeless romantic. But I still believe that even in a dog-eat-dog world that is competitive sports, tenderness goes a long way.
But isn't this one of the greatest ironies of our time, when cellphones, devices invented for people to talk, are now used mainly for texting?
SOUP DU JOUR. Smith recently served a one-game suspension for hurling a bowl of Tortilla soup at assistant coach Damon Jones during the morning shootaround prior to the Cavaliers' March 1 game. If the suspension was without pay, it would have cost Smith $167,804 out of his $13.7 million salary this season.
One theory suggests that Lue opted to text Smith the bad news for fear of having to dodge a saucer of boiling hot soup flying his way. Another theory is that Lue didnt' want to talk to Smith because Daryl Hall and John Oates once moaned in a song, 'Some things are better left unsaid.'
Levity aside, the real reason Smith was benched is simple - lack of production.
Through 65 games and 61 starts, Smith has made only 123 of 338 threes (36.4 percent) and converted just 197 of 504 field goals overall (39.1 percent). Averaging a mere 8.4 points a game wasn't enough to keep Smith as a starter and log 29 minutes per.
Smith sure deserves the benching. If you can't shoot and your job title is shooting guard, it's not just a problem, it's an oxymoron. Still the 15-year veteran earned the right to be told of his role change in person. Isn't that what professionals in a pro team do?
But hey, coach Lue is an extremely busy man dealing with immense pressure and sky-high expectations from a team that had reached the NBA Finals the past three years. And as he continues to chart a path towards another title, it's sad to know that common courtesy got lost in the journey.
CALL ME MAYBE. Freddie Roach told the Los Angeles Times that he called Manny Pacquiao "five times and never heard back."
"Maybe he changed his number," Roach said.
Well, maybe Roach should try texting the fighting senator.
Seriously though, something is not right here. Manny almost always takes my calls each time I dial one of his two personal cell phones. Why isn't he taking Roach's calls?
Here's the thing, did Roach or his reps call the right numbers? Did they call at the right time, knowing that because of the 15-hour difference, yesterday in LA is today in the Philippines?
But alas, according to multiple reports, Pacquiao is reportedly upset when Roach said Manny should consider retirement after losing to Jeff Horn last July. If true, this is probably why the senator is giving his prized (former?) trainer the cold shoulder.
Indeed, some things are better left unsaid.