OAKLAND, Calif. -- With tears streaming down his face during an emotional postgame news conference after winning his first NBA championship on Sunday, Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith credited his family, and especially his father, for being a key source of inspiration.
"I mean, my parents, my family, that's the biggest inspiration in my life," Smith said while fighting back tears after the Cavaliers beat the Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. "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. 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 right or wrong," said Smith, who scored 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting in 39 minutes.
Becoming increasingly emotional, Smith said: "I know a lot of people don't have their parents in their life, their mother, their father, but I've got the best two you could ask for, I swear. There's six of us, and they didn't treat any of us different. They loved us the same. They treated us all the same, and I just wanted to be like them when I grow up."
Smith's father stood nearby while Smith delivered the tearful speech -- on Father's Day, no less.
"I mean, my dad is easily one of my biggest inspirations to play this game," Smith said. "To hear people talk bad about me, it hurts me because I know it hurts him, and that's not who I am. And I know he raised me better, and I know I want to do better. Just everything I do is for my parents and my family.
"I mean, I don't really -- the cars are nice, the houses are 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, if it wasn't for 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."
When he finished talking, Smith went into the crowd and embraced his father, who was clearly moved.