Russ Smith shipped his game-worn 2013 National Title jersey, which was framed and presented to him on senior night, to his father in Brooklyn. Due to a mishap on the FedEx’s part, that jersey is gone, possibly for good.
This occurred several weeks ago, gaining national attention once Smith voiced his frustrations in a string of tweets to his more than 36,000 Twitter followers. Smith was at the NBA Draft Combine last week, and is still in the process of conducting individual workouts as he gears up for next month’s draft. In the meantime, his father has continued to pursue the lost uniform, hiring lawyers, according to Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.
“I’m so disappointed,” Russ Smith Sr. told the Courier-Journal. “I feel so bad for my son. I said, ‘You worked hard for this. And for it to just be thrown away, I can’t let that happen.’ I had to step up to the plate and get something done.”
Jonathan Blue, a member of the U of L Board of Trustees, has offered a $3,000 reward for anyone who can find and bring him the lost jersey.
Russ Smith’s stay in Louisville has come to a close following his graduation on Saturday. The projected second round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft wanted to make sure his father, who is back at home in Brooklyn, held on to one of his prized possessions from his career with the Cardinals: the jersey he wore in the 2013 National Title game.
However, due to a mishap on the part of FedEx, that jersey is gone.
According to WHAS11, the jersey, which was framed and presented to Smith on senior night, made it to New York, though, when it arrived the frame and glass had been cracked. FexEx agreed to pay for the damages, asking for the entire package to be sent back. Upon its return, the package had been thrown away by the shipping company due to safety concerns.
Smith voiced his frustrations through his Twitter account in a string of tweets:
Erin Truxal, the public relations and crisis communications manager for FedEx, issued this statement regarding the incident.:
“We are working closely with security to further investigate this matter. The damaged merchandise was marked to discard since, for safety precautions, our employees are trained not to open packages with broken glass. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Smith for his recent experience. We are working directly with Mr. Smith on this matter.”
The cherished jersey is priceless to Smith, a symbol of his accomplishments with the Cards, but the uniform does have a price tag on it. Jonathan Blue, a member of the U of L Board of Trustees, said he will give a $3,000 reward to anyone who can find the missing jersey and deliver it to his office.
Senior guard Russ Smith gave a good performance in his final game for Louisville on Friday night as Smith scored 23 points in the loss to rival Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the Midwest Regional.
Smith even dunked on Julius Randle. Again.
But the senior also gave some fantastic extended quotes after the game and showed that he’s a true class act.
Smith also went into the Kentucky locker room after the loss to shake the hands of his opponents, according to multiple reports.
Clearly a classy gesture from a player who has tasted both victory and defeat during a tremendous four-year college career. The Louisville and Kentucky rivalry can be ugly at times — as can any rivalry — but this marks a great moment from a key player in the rivalry from the last few seasons.
(H/T: Eric Crawford of WDRB and Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com)