Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reports:

J.R. Smith is now Earl Smith

Nuggets guard J.R. Smith has made a decision — from now on, he wants to be called by his given name, Earl.

His given name is Earl Smith III, but he got “J.R.” because people would call him “junior,” even though, yeah, he’s actually a third-generation Earl.

Regardless, the Denver sharpshooter is now Earl Smith III — which should lead to some cutesy puns about “III” and “3-pointers.”

“I just felt like changing it,” Smith said Tuesday morning at the Nuggets shootaround, in preparation for tonight’s Nuggets-Bulls game, Smith’s first game back from a seven-game suspension. “It’s been a long time, and J.R. has no significance to my name. My name is Earl, so I figured  - why not?”

Smith doesn’t exactly give a compelling reason for the change. Usually when someone makes a big decision, like altering the first name millions of people know you by, there’s more behind it than “just feeling like it.” But of course, it’s J.R.’s decision.

I wonder how long it’ll take fans to break the habit and call him Earl.

I remember when another J.R. — last name Rider — became “Isaiah” Rider. For years later, everyone still wanted to call him J.R.  To me, he’s still J.R. Rider.

Anyway, welcome to the NBA, Earl Smith III!

NOVEMBER 11 UPDATE: NO NAME CHANGE

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reports: Nuggets guard J.R. Smith made a big proclamation Tuesday morning — from now on, he wanted to be called by his given name, Earl. But by game time Tuesday night, he was back to being J.R. “There was too much controversy with the switch,” Smith said after Denver’s 90-89 win in Chicago. “I got a lot of calls and text messages and e-mails. It wasn’t a good move.”