- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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"Once everybody started making a big deal out of it the league jumps on it," Martin said Thursday night. "It's been blown out of proportion. It's been blown way out of proportion. There was no malice or nothing like that. ... It's a stupid joke blown too far and people making a bigger deal of it than it is."
Smith was fined $50,000 by the NBA for his attempts to untie two opponents' shoelaces in recent New York Knicks games. The 28-year-old was also benched by coach Mike Woodson on Thursday against the Miami Heat. It is unclear if Smith will play Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Martin said. "You hate to see somebody lose his hard-earned money and be put in a situation where he can't help his team go out and win."
Smith said after Thursday's game he thought the NBA's fine was a bit exorbitant.
"It was a joke but a joke gone wrong," he said.
The reigning Sixth Man award winner also apparently pulled the stunt with Houston's Dwight Howard.
Smith was seen on video untying Howard's laces on Jan. 3. Howard tried to retaliate, but was rebuffed by Smith.
“I’m glad I didn’t. I’d have lost some money," Howard told the Houston Chronicle. "I didn’t do that.”
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The NBA took J.R. Smith's shoelace stunt pretty seriously. But in Kenyon Martin's eyes, Smith's antics were "a stupid joke" that was "blown out of proportion.