There’s countless cliches about never giving up, fighting through adversity and hard work paying off. There’s a reason why people use them, because if you apply yourself then you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor. Take Chris Smith for instance. The Knicks’ guard could have decided that basketball may not work out after suffering a knee injury during Knicks’ camp last season. That followed the disappointment of not being drafted in the 2012 NBA draft as well.
He could very well have given up. But, he didn’t, and now Smith is on the Knicks’ roster for the 2013-14 season. Don’t get it twisted though, it hasn’t been easy. Kid has worked hard for it, all the while dealing with the hate (unjustly) reserved for sports stars these days.
We caught up with Smith before the Knicks’ opener at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night to talk about his journey, haters, and of course, sneakers.
Starting5: Opening night at The Garden, you made the final playing roster. How does it feel?
Chris Smith: It feels great. It’s an amazing feeling to be here with all this orange. (Ed’s note: The Knicks were giving away orange T-shirts which were placed on the seats in the arena)
S5: You’ve put in a lot of hard work, I watched you all last season working out and trying to get back from your knee injury, was there ever a point where you felt like it wasn’t going to happen for you?
CS: Yeah, I felt down a lot of times, but it’s just a matter of sticking with it. I had a lot of moral support from the guys on the team, I stuck around and hung around the guys and just pretty much stuck with my workout routine everyday.
S5: You’ve copped a bit of criticism lately, people saying that you’re only on the team because you’re J.R’s brother and things of that nature. By you making the team, is that vindication that your hard work is paying off?
CS:Yeah. That’s definitely vindication all the hard work is paying off. You know, everybody is a critic nowadays, it doesn’t really bother me. I mean, everybody writes on my Instagram, my Twitter, writers are writing all these crazy things, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really bother me. I’m here, and I’m going to prove why I’m here.
S5: How do you deal with all the negative stuff on social media? I’ve seen some pretty nasty comments on your page. You’re a positive dude, always sending out positive energy, how do you deal with all the hate?
CS: It’s just motivation for me. It just puts more fuel to my fire. I’m gonna’ just keep continuing striving to be great, and eventually I will be.
S5: Does J.R. give you any advice on how to handle haters? He’s had his fair share of them over the last couple years too.
CS: He’s given me advice by winning Sixth Man of the Year last year. That’s enough advice for me, you know. Of course, we talk all the time. Last year we lived together, this year we’re kind of separated but we’re still on the same team, we see each other every day, and everything is everything.
S5: Obviously the team goal is to win a championship, but what are your personal goals this season?
CS: My personal goal is to get minutes eventually on the team, and just, you know, be a big part of the team. [Just] be a piece of the
puzzle in winning a championship.
S5: Finally, we’ve seen J.R’s shoe game when he plays, he’s got some crazy kicks. I know you’ve got some heat as well, you’ve got the LeBron Soldiers on now, what can we expect to see you in this season?
CS: [Laughs] I got some heat in the closet. I’m not sure what I’ll pull out, but I got something for everybody.
S5: I saw you in the Bel Air V’s earlier today. Are you going to wear those in a game at some point?
CS: It depends. I might pull them out at some point, you know, for Earth Day game or something.