It’s certainly been a year of change for J.R. Smith.
The two-time NBA champion is taking some time away from the hardwood as he furthers his higher education at North Carolina A&T. But while he’s focusing on his studies, he admittedly couldn’t stay away from organized sports and is now a walk-on for the university’s golf team. The newly minted Aggie understands the stark difference between the two sports, but the challenge hasn’t altered much.
“It’s going to be fun. Obviously different environments from playing in front of 20,000 people to playing in a college golf gallery,” Smith said Monday in an online news conference. “But it’s still as nerve-wracking 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 missed out on the college experience because he went straight to the NBA after graduating high school in 2004. However, the state of North Carolina always interested him, as he originally committed to UNC– who ironically won the NCAA Championship during his rookie year with the New Orleans Hornets.
“I wasn’t really playing my first year, and Carolina wins the NCAA championship, so I definitely thought about it a lot in my early years. But then after a while, school just disappeared in my mind,” he told HBCU Gameday. I didn’t think I’d have that urge or want to go back — or let alone courage to go back.
But now, as star athletes began to put more respect on HBCU’s sports programs — a movement heavily spearheaded by Chris Paul, who’s attending Winston-Salem State– Smith is happy to be a part of the culture.
Here’s how Twitter’s reacting to Smith’s new path:
Twitter Reacts To J.R. Smith Joining College Golf Team
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If you had JR Smith playing golf for a college on your 2021 bingo card, congrats on your automatic W https://t.co/hKs6cbjj2n— Pub Sports Radio ™ (@PubSportsRadio) August 24, 2021
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Is JR Smith actually good at golf or something🤨— Lx3🏖🕊 (@7hooodz) August 24, 2021
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JR Smith really in college trying to get on the golf team pic.twitter.com/NMA3C2tiFn— Kel (@KungFuKel192) August 24, 2021
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Could you imagine going to college for golf and your teammate is fucking jr smith 🔥 https://t.co/yrl8bspUYU— Jump 🍀 (@JxmpAlot) August 24, 2021
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The fact that JR Smith would destroy me at golf has me legit shook.— Brad Stevens (@therealbstevens) August 24, 2021
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Everyone making fun of jr Smith but I respect him doing golf because now he's doing something he wants to do and not what everybody else says he should do, like live your life you only got one of them— Matthew Kimani (@MatthewKimani) August 24, 2021
NO BARGAINS!!!! 😤 💯
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JR Smith is ready to dominate NCAA Golf 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vnc0mpuRo4— GolfBet (@GolfBet) August 24, 2021
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You’re 18 and playing in your first college golf tournament and this guy is in your group, what you doing?— Ben Tem (@Ben_Tem33) August 24, 2021
Officially a college golfer: JR Smith pic.twitter.com/uCJ0Cz702R
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JR Smith got cleared by the NCAA to play golf. That’s what’s up— 2Easy😮💨 (@JamesM15_) August 24, 2021
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JR Smith says the 2016 Cavs have a championship group chat and a lot of the members congratulated him on going back to school and playing golf— Scott Davis (@WScottDavis) August 23, 2021
J.R. Smith Cleared By NCAA to Play Golf As Student-Athlete For North Carolina A&T was originally published on cassiuslife.com