NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, April 10, 2015, 7:03 PM
J.R. Smith avoids hanging out outside late-night events.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher admittedly made a point to address with his players the dangers of staying out late in light of ex-Knick Chris Copeland’s 4 a.m. stabbing outside a Chelsea nightclub earlier this week.
Another former Knick known for enjoying the local nightlife during his time in New York – J.R. Smith – says he had certain “rules” for going out and staying safe to avoid such incidents.
“For me, I feel like a target every time,” Smith told ESPN on Friday before the Cavaliers’ game against Boston. “So, I try to handle myself with care when I’m out and about. It’s one of those situations when you’re out at 4 in the morning – I’m not saying it’s (Copeland’s) fault, by any means – but when you’re out at 4 in the morning, there’s no way you should be walking anywhere.
“Get in your car and go home or go wherever you’re going. That’s one of my cardinal rules. You don’t just stand outside of the events like that. You just get in and go and keep it moving.”
Copeland underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair stab wounds to his left elbow and abdomen, while Thabo Sefolosha suffered a season-ending broken leg while he and teammate Pero Antic were being arrested for obstructing the crime scene during the incident outside the 1 OAK nightclub in Chelsea.
“I’ve never seen anything like that at all. You hear about stuff like that all the time, but seeing it firsthand? I’ve never seen it,” Smith said. “Situations like that can happen anywhere. It just unfortunately happened to Chris Copeland in New York. As far as it happening, it could go down anywhere. It could be in the nicest places, it could be in the worst places. It’s just one of those situations where you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Shortly after he was traded from the Knicks to Cleveland in January, the New Jersey native had called the relocation “the best situation for me” because it got him away from the New York nightlife.
“There’s nothing you expect but basketball. There’s nothing, there’s no going out, there’s no late nights,” Smith said in late January. “There’s video games, basketball and basketball.”
The former Knick guard added Friday that the NBA schedule is conducive to late nights. “We fly in late all the time, so then we go out (late),” Smith said. “Guys like to have a good time. Just like the average college student. It just so happens that we got a lot of money, we’re young and famous, and people want to want to see us and we like to be seen. It just comes with the territory.”
Smith also acknowledged frequenting 1 OAK while in New York. “It’s a great place to be if you want to have a good time. It was one of my favorite places when I was there,” he said. “You get to see people: The Leonardo DiCaprios, the Rihannas, the Jay Zs, Beyonces and people of that sort. So, if you don’t get a chance to go to concerts and stuff like that, it’s a good chance. It’s where you see people and it’s a good vibe.”
The Knicks have no official curfew for their players, but when asked about the Copeland incident before Friday’s home game against Milwaukee, Fisher said the Knicks “took that example to highlight to our players to try and avoid those situations as much as they can.”
Andrea Bargnani, who the Daily News reported has been playing with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, was not in the lineup with what the Knicks described as an “illness.”