Monday 24th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Vince Carter Defends J.R. Smith’s Headband Tug

022414Knicks112RA.JPGWill J.R. Smith ever learn?

Vince Carter doesn’t care.

Early in the fourth quarter of the Dallas Mavericks 110-108 victory over the New York Knicks Monday night, Smith yanked Carter’s headband as he was running down the court. Why? Because he’s J.R. Smith, headband-tugging, shoelace-untying extraordinaire.

Video of the “incident” can be seen below:

It wasn’t a violent tug or even a vindictive tug. It was a playful tug that didn’t even come during an actual play. But because it’s Smith that was doing the tugging, the “incident” is being blown way out of proportion, hence the use of the word “incident” at all.

Since it was him behind this shenanigan, it was Satan’s work (kidding). The product of an immature and undisciplined Smith not understanding the difference between right and wrong…right?


Carter and Smith are friends, and what Smith did was prank a friend, per The Dallas Morning News Eddie Sefko:

Surprised, but not upset. He thought Smith’s actions were all in good fun.

“It didn’t bother me,” Carter said. “I hear everybody making a big deal about it, but he didn’t pull it over my eyes where I couldn’t see or play the game, so it wasn’t a big deal. But I know because it’s him, it’s an issue. He didn’t want me to make any more shots. It was just funny to me.”

Carter had made consecutive 3-pointers when Smith pulled the headband. He also tried to tug on Carter’s arm sleeve.


Carter said he considers Smith a good friend and didn’t even think about making a big deal of the incident.
“I didn’t argue with the refs or anything like that,” he said. “It wasn’t a big deal to me.”

Imagine that. Someone actually isn’t overreacting to what should be a footnote and non-issue. Good for Carter.

Of course, we all know why this is being made into an actual thing. Smith was previously funded $50,000 by the NBA because of his shoelace-untying ways, and this seems eerily similar—except for the fact that Smith didn’t have a go at Carter’s shoelaces. Or impede his ability to do anything at all.

Carter was able to situate himself basically before play resumed, and it didn’t happen again. Smith wasn’t seen trying to blindfold him or untie his shoes while he attempted a shot. He didn’t try to de-pants him while he was getting back on defense. All he did was the now-infamous headband tug.

Heaven and Earth forbid Smith have fun on the basketball court, right? I’m not necessarily advocating this particular move, and those previous shoelace gaffes were the stupidest things ever, but I’m not prepared to crucify him (again) for something like this. Neither is Carter. Neither should you.

And neither should the NBA. Not this time.

When Smith actually reverts back to orchestrating mayhem, perhaps by setting fire to his defender one of these days, then the league should feel free to take action. But in this situation, any penalty is superfluous and dumber than the headband-tugging and shoelace-untying acts themselves.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at in addition to


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