'Bad boy' JR Smith breaks down in tears as he pays tribute to dad, family: 'They're my backbone'
"I don’t know where I would be honestly if it wasn’t for them, the structure and the backbone that I have, I wouldn’t be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion,” says Cavs guard JR Smith. AP

JR Smith was far from the flamboyant, notorious player he’s known for in his 12-year NBA career in an emotional post-game news conference after he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers capture the crown over the Golden State Warriors, 93-89, on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).

Smith, who fired 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field in Game Seven, broke down in tears with his father standing close by as he thanked his family for inspiring him to persevere through all the ups and downs of a turbulent life on and off the court.

“I mean, my parents, our family, they’ve been the biggest inspiration in my life. I’ve been in a lot of dark spots in my life and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to get out of it,” said Smith, who was already tearing up even before he started speaking.

“But they are who they are. They fought with me, they yelled at me, they screamed at me, they loved me, they hugged me, they cried with me. And they always stuck by my side no matter [if I’m] right or wrong,” he added.

He even became more emotional when he mentioned how their parents raised him and his five other siblings.

“I know a lot of people who don’t have their parents, wife, their mother, father, but I got the best two you could ask for, I swear. It’s six of us and they didn’t treat any of us different. They loved us the same, they treated us all the same. I just want to be like them when I grow up,” he said.

Smith also made special mention of his father as the Cavs won the title on Father’s Day no less, thanking his dad for the inspiration to be a better man despite all the infamy.

“My dad is easily one of my biggest inspirations to play this game. And to hear people talk bad about me, it hurts me because I know it hurts him and that’s not who I am. I know he raised better and I know I want to do better,” said Smith, breaking up in between sentences while his father held back tears.

“Everything I do is for my parents and my family. The cars are nice, the house is nice but none of this matters without them. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. I don’t know where I would be honestly if it wasn’t for them, the structure and the backbone that I have, I wouldn’t be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion,” he concluded, before heading towards his father as both men embraced.

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