The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the heavily favored Golden State Warriors to take the 2016 NBA Championships last night, after rallying from a 3-1 deficit to force a Game 7. Symbolizing this unlikely comeback is J.R. Smith, the Cavs's shooting guard whose belligerent behavior on and off court has made him a folk hero to some and an arrogant distraction to others. Here's a brief, brief sampling: He's suffered at least "$462,853 in fines and lost wages" from various fouls, like untying the shoelaces of his opponents and hitting them in their privates. He parties; he fails drug tests; he's caught flak for tweeting like a Blood. And once, he gave us this classic DM slide:
In the daylight of victory we saw J.R. Smith as what he always was: a tenacious, gifted athlete. And, now, a champion. "HENNNNYYYTHING IS POSSIBLEEEE !" writes one Instagram user on the above photo, and today that feels true, especially for those who've been counted out. Perhaps that's why Twitter fell over itself to celebrate J.R.'s victory, and why his emotional post-game press conference was all the more poignant.