J.R. Smith teams up to aid hungry kids

New York Knicks sixth man J.R. Smith has joined NFL players Wes Welker and Miles Austin as the latest pro athlete to endorse SK Energy Shots, announced Monday exclusively on ESPN Playbook.

Not only is Smith a big fan of the brand, co-founded by rap mogul 50 Cent, but he's also raising awareness for its charitable campaign: Every energy shot sold will provide a meal to a hungry child through the United Nations World Food Programme.

While Smith was filming his first TV spot for SK Energy at New York City's Bath House Studios last week, he talked about his newest venture.

What does it mean to you to be part of SK Energy?

It means a lot. It's a great thing to be a part of, especially with helping kids and homeless kids as well. It actually helps my game a lot, too -- to come out and get energized, and hopefully protect our home Garden court.

How did you first discover the product?

I started using it probably a month ago. It's so much better than the other brands -- you don't crash and all that, so it's been great. We've got a few guys on the team now using it.

What was unique about this brand?

The difference was not to crash. That's the biggest thing playing so many games in so many nights. You try not to crash as much as you can, and drinking an energy drink like this, it definitely helps me perform at a higher level than I want to perform at. And it helps me recover as well.

How do you use it?

Definitely before every game I use it. I use it during practice if I'm feeling sluggish. It definitely gives me that boost to go out there and perform. If not, Coach [Mike] Woodson is definitely going to be on me [laughs]. It gets my adrenaline pumping for sure.

Have you found that it's helped you on the court in the past month?

Without a doubt. It's been helping my play for sure, trying to get up for those low teams that are not in the playoffs race. It helps me come out with more energy on defense and helps my shot, too. Lately, my shot has been real flat, so I use the energy to get it up.

What's it like to be connected with Wes Welker and Miles Austin?

Actually, I'm a huge Cowboys fan, so I'm a big Miles Austin fan. And the way Wes works around the field, catching passes, you can tell it really helps his game as well. I really don't know those guys too well, but it means a lot to be a part of a good group like that.

I ran into you at a recent Power Rangers promotional event in NYC and now we're talking SK Energy. Do you feel you're getting to do more off the court in the city this season?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, just the overall outlook of people and the perception that people have on me, being in New York, being in a bigger market, I'm able to show the real side of me and get my real view across.

When you have a rough shooting night, like in the loss Sunday to the Clippers, you still seem very transparent with fans on Twitter -- even challenging those who call you out. You must really enjoy the social media experience.

Yeah, definitely. I'm really into my fans, whether it's good comments or bad comments. I'm really on the social media. Every mention I get, there's very few that I don't check. I like to respond to them to see how they react, see what their thoughts are -- not even about the game, but just everything.