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J.R. Smith’s postgame words honoring his parents will leave you in tears

The Cavs guard celebrated his biggest fans after the Game 7 victory

The Cleveland Cavaliers became league champions Sunday night, winning Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals and bringing home their city’s first championship in over 50 years.

By far the most emotional moment of the night – and one that hit home perhaps even more than LeBron James’ tears – came from J.R. Smith. Throughout Smith’s career, whether in New Orleans, Denver, New York or even at times in Cleveland, he’s been seemingly unable to escape being labeled as “immature” or a “team cancer.”

Countless articles have been written about the 30-year-old ultimate green-light shooting guard, many of which haven’t always been positive. Smith is the first to admit he played a part in the perception. But part of Cleveland’s success the past two seasons can be tied to Smith’s shooting and, more importantly, Smith’s ability to avoid controversy, for the most part.

Many remember Michael Jordan collapsing on the floor after the Chicago Bulls won the title in 1996. It was Jordan’s fourth title and his first without his father, his best friend, who had been murdered on July 23, 1993. In terms of on-court accomplishments, comparing Smith with Jordan is foolish. But for a brief moment in time, they were equals.

Overcome with emotion, tears streaming down his face, Smith thanked his parents — with his father, the man he credited for “putting the ball in my crib,” just feet away from the podium where he sat sobbing uncontrollably. It was the perfect Father’s Day gift and a belated Mother’s Day gift.

“I been in a lot of dark spots in my life,” Smith said, fighting through tears. He continued, speaking about his parents, “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. They always stuck by my side, no matter right or wrong. I know a lot of people don’t have their parents in their life — their mother or their 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 wanna be like them when I grow up.”

Justin Tinsley is a culture and sports writer for The Undefeated. He firmly believes “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for da ’99 and da 2000” is the single-most impactful statement of his generation.