Once upon a time, current New York Knicks center Jason Smith was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. In fact, he spent the first two years of his NBA career in the City of Brotherly Love, and as fate would have it, I actually had a chance encounter with the big man.
Well, truth be told, I didn’t so much as have the encounter as witness it. Way back when, I attended a movie with a few friends of mine in Manayunk right on Main Street. I don’t recall exactly what movie it was. I want to say it was “The Hangover” — the timing is certainly right for that to be the case — but I’m not 100 percent sure.
Anyway, as we took our seats, we noticed a giant of a human being walking it. It took roughly 3.5 seconds for us to realize it was then-Sixers big Jason Smith. He was enormous. So enormous, in fact, that when he sat down in front of a much smaller woman, she politely tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he’d mind moving over to a vacant seat. Smith very graciously obliged.
I’ll always remember that. Smith very easily could have refused, but instead he didn’t make a scene, didn’t act self-important, and politely moved to no longer obstruct the woman’s view due to his 7-foot frame. Good on him.
Unfortunately for Smith, he’s been stuck on mostly mediocre to bad teams in his career, going from Philadelphia to the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans and finally landing this past season in the Big Apple to play for the lowly New York Knicks.
It’s not pretty, but at least Smith is a good guy and can provide a little laughter in a season that offered little in the way of smiles for the Knicks.