It was a quick video, but I didn’t see any choke!
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was involved in an altercation outside of a pizza shop in New York City — and has a civil suit pending from a 19-year-old who claimed Smith attacked him, choked him, and slammed him into a wall for making crude Knicks jokes.
Deadspin has acquired video footage that shows Smith barely touching the teen.
The video shot outside of Artichoke Pizza on the corner of West 17th and Tenth Avenue in the early morning hours of November 13. It begins with Smith—wearing a black hoodie—being heckled by two bad teens who seem upset that Smith would not take a picture with them. The rowdy teens send some very teenaged taunts in Smith’s direction—“I’m from Two-Nine and Lex!” and “I want you to do something; gonna get 50 grand!” and the like —while one of Smith’s friends—the guy in the red jacket—talks back to the teens before attempting to move to the other side of the street with Smith.
The clip then cuts to surveillance footage from a camera on the same block. You can see Smith—at this point in the middle of the crosswalk—return to the teens and deliver what appears to be a gentle shove (or, at worst, some sort of loose smiting) to one of them before being pulled away by his friend. The shoved or smited teen lurches back from the contact, like Manu Ginobili, and may or may not brush into a wall by the time he’s finished. We don’t know if this video depicts the entirety of Smith’s interaction with the teens, but it seems to support the New York prosecutor’s decision not to press charges. Manhattan DA spokesman Patrick Muncie released a brief statement when the case was dropped:
I think the civil case should go away now as well.