JR Smith Says He Has a ‘Really Clean Slate’ With the Knicks

by February 20, 2012

JR Smith made his highly-anticipated debut in a New York Knicks uniform yesterday, as he unveiled an amazing haircut to a stunned and bemused national TV audience, and did not let the fans in MSG down. Smith says he’s excited to rebuild his image in New York. From Zagsblog: “After all that he has been through across his troubled career, J.R. Smith now has chance for a fresh start with the Knicks. After the driver’s license suspensions, the death of his friend Andre Bell in a 2007 car accident, the brawl with the Knicks, the former St. Benedict’s Prep star has landed in his dream spot and now has an opportunity to show everyone he can be a good citizen and can help take the Linsanity Knicks into a new era. ‘It’s really a clean slate,’ Smith said Sunday at Madison Square Garden after scoring 15 points off the bench in his Knicks’ debut, a 104-97 win over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. ‘I’m not the same 18 year old kid that I was eight years ago. I‘m a grown man, 26 years old and ready to make big decisions for my life and make the best decisions for my teammates.’ […] When Smith arrived at Madison Square Garden for his first game with his hometown team, head coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t even sure he would play Smith. After all, he had spent the season in China and didn’t know any of the offense. But when Iman Shumpert picked up two quick fouls, D’Antoni called Smith’s number and the J.R. Smith Era began. ‘The first five minutes was really mind-blowing,’ Smith said. ‘The whole time during warmups I’m sitting there thinking, ‘This is crazy. I’m at the Garden. I’m wearing a Knick uniform. This is crazy. I never would’ve imagined this In a million years.’ […] ‘Not bad start, hitting three straight shots (actually 3 of 4),’ D’Antoni said. Smith said he considered offers from the Clippers and Lakers, but the opportunity to play in front of family and friends — and to play with former Nuggets teammate Carmelo Anthony — swayed him toward the Knicks. ‘Melo really sealed the deal for me,’ he said. ‘Once I talked to Melo…he told me what kind of atmosphere it was and it sealed the deal 100 percent.'”