America’s obsession with guarantees ropes in J.R. Smith

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how every player should expect a championship.  I even went so far as to say

I don't care if you're Bismack Biyombo. If you're asked about the "tough season coming up," you respond with "I go into every game expecting to win and trying to do everything I can to make that happen. If it turns out to be a tough season, we'll talk about it then. But I'm here to win games, and that's what I expect to do."

That was a hypothetical… and I stand by it.  But it doesn't make it any less jarring to hear in real life.  Like when J.R. Smith made this guarantee for the upcoming Knicks season:

Interviewer: "What can we expect for this new season coming up?"

Smith: "A championship"

Stop it right there and you'd think "all that ink has gone to J.R.'s brain."  The Knicks will be decent, but no self-respecting prognosticator would pick the Knicks to do much of anything in the postseason. 

But then it goes on.

Interviewer: "Word?  You really saying that?"

Smith:  "Of course, nothing less.  If we settle for anything less, we already started off losing."

Then comes my favorite part… when someone off camera asks "Is that a guarantee?"

Here's the whole video.

For some reason, we love "guarantees" in this country.  We flip out for them.  I'll re-iterate my stance from my previous piece.  What do fans expect JR Smith, or anyone else to say?

"The team has invested a lot of money in this franchise and you guys are all going to spend a lot of money on tickets, food, and beer… but I don't think we're going to be all that great.  Sorry y'all."

Yeah, our immediate reaction is that J.R. Smith is nuts for thinking the Knicks are going to win a title… but the reality is that's not what he's saying.  He's not predicting the future.  He's talking about his mindset, and that's a very different thing.

Most professional athletes go into their respective events with the mind set that they're going to win whatever it is they're doing.  The expectation to win is a fuel that drives you to dive for loose balls, to fight for that offensive rebound, to track down a guy on the break and get the chase-down block.

Player guarantees never have, and never will be, predictions.  Player guarantees are always that internal fire explaining to you what that player expects the results to be.  As a coach, I'd never want a player on my team that expects anything less.

(via NESN)