JR Smith concluded his career on a good note. The 16-year NBA phenom and former 6th man of the year won championships during the coveted 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Smith recently enrolled at North Carolina A&T to pursue a degree in liberal studies and his journey is documented on his Twitter with complete honestly.
Smith was drawn to the North Carolina school because of his interest in attending a Historically Black College or University which follows a push by the NBA and its 30 teams to support HBCU traditions and culture during the All-Star competitions in Atlanta.
Instead of entering college in 2004 to suit up for college ball at the University of North Carolina, Smith declared for the NBA Draft. The 19-year-old rookie was ultimately selected by the then New Orleans Hornets where he eventually spent his first two years of professional basketball at.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old is undergoing a major adjustment and has made a living in basketball, but he’s strictly doing this because he wants to. The NCAA counters athletes from competing in college sports if they’ve played in the pro divisions before, but the rules only apply to the sport the player produced money in professionally. Since this time Smith wasn’t lacing up for basketball he was given the pass to play golf.
Smith is finally reaching his college-athlete experience which he missed out on nearly 2 decades ago and will play for North Carolina A&T’s golf team as a freshman. Smith is an avid golfer and has practiced in numerous Pro Ams before which was enough to receive praise from PGA pro Dustin Johnson, who said in 2016: “He can play.”
Smith is focused on improving his golf game, but despite competing in front of some of the largest crowds in sports, he is tailored with a level of nervousness.
“It’s going to be fun,” Smith said last Monday in an online news conference. “Obviously different environments from playing in front of 20,000 people to playing in a college golf gallery. …But it’s still as nerve-racking as shooting a free throw in front of 5,000 instead of making a 5-foot putt in front of three. So it all correlates the same for me.”
Smith also compared the creativity and flow of a golf swing to basketball. “I just know how to compete with myself,” Smith said. “As being a shooter and with golf, it correlates to trying to hit different shots and your creativity, and that swing and try to have that flow and tempo.”
Smith was downright honest and inspiring when discussing what many can relate to in the college experience — with the exception of being well-known.
Smith chronicles the stress of deadlines and English assignments.
Former teammates and rivals commend the veteran
The green light for Smith’s college-athlete debut is lingering, but not counted out for North Carolina A&T’s first tournament of the fall season, the Black College Golf Association Invitational on September 24-25 in Georgia.