He was the focus of every TV replay, every highlight recap, every story that followed the first game of the 2018 NBA Finals. Unfortunately for former NBA champion J.R. Smith, it was for the wrong reason.
The jersey he was wearing in one of the most famous—or infamous– moments of recent Finals history is on the block through NBA Auctions.
After teammate George Hill missed a free throw that would have given Cleveland the lead in Game 1 at ORACLE Arena on May 31, Smith snared the rebound and dribbled away from the basket, seemingly unaware that the game was tied and the Cavs needed a basket to win. While no one knows if they would have scored had Smith committed the blunder, any chance they may have had fizzled. The buzzer sounded, the Cavs sat in stunned silence on the bench as the game went to overtime and the rejuvenated Warriors emerged with a win. Instead of potentially stealing an unexpected road upset that could have potentially made the series much more interesting, the dynamic changed.
In the locker room after the game, James punched a whiteboard in frustration, an injury that wasn’t revealed until after the series ended with a four-game sweep by Golden State. His 51 points had gone for naught.
The dark-colored jersey is a Size 50 and includes four inches of extra length. It bears the Finals logo on the back and is registered into the NBA and MeiGray Game-Worn Jersey Authentication Program. Despite the jersey’s unique place in history, bidding has been somewhat modest so far, but will continue through Thursday, June 21.