NBA veteran JR Smith recently opened up about a rift with a former teammate -- apparently over politics.
Smith, a 16-year veteran, revealed during an appearance on a podcast that there's only been one teammate throughout his lengthy career who he "really didn't like" -- reserve forward Sam Dekker.
Dekker, a journeyman who played professionally in Turkey last season, was teammates with Smith briefly in 2018-19, when they were both with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Smith, speaking on the "All Things Covered" podcast hosted by former Steelers star Bryant McFadden and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, said the locker room and his teammates have always been his sanctuary -- with one notable exception.
"Throughout my whole career, it’s only one teammate I really don’t like. And he know that. And everybody else, I’m just cool with," Smith said.
"Who's the teammate?" McFadden asked.
"This dude Sam Dekker, dog. I can’t — this dude. He did some bulls— on the bus one day, talking some Trump s—, and I just wasn’t having it."
Smith further explained he didn't "respect anything about" Dekker's worldview:
"For what the question he asked, it's a thought pattern," he said. "You're taught that. It's not like—it's the hate you give. And I feel like it's something you're taught. It's not—the privilege he has was taught to him, and he took heed of it and ran with it even further than somebody who was not—who was oblivious to what they have and the life they lived.
"Because some people just go through their life—not necessarily knowing, but not aware and privy to somebody else's circumstances. He's a person who's just very aware of somebody else's circumstances and wants to keep them there, as opposed to try to help him elevate up. And I don't respect anything about that."
Dekker, 26, and Smith were teammates in Cleveland in 2018-19 for several weeks, before Dekker was later traded to the Washington Wizards. The Wisconsin product appeared in 47 games that season, averaging about 17 minutes per game.
The previous year, Dekker made headlines when he appeared to feud with a Los Angeles Clippers teammate on social media over "white culture," Deadline reported.
Dekker was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2015, the 18th overall pick. He spent two years there before moving on to Los Angeles, and later the Cavs and Wizards.