JR Smith attempting to join college golf team at North Carolina A&T
J.R. Smith has his sights set on playing sports again, but not professionally, and not the sport you might think.
Smith has enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University, a top HBCU, with a plan to pursue a degree in liberal studies. The 35-year-old also has another goal: he’s trying to join the school’s golf team.
“They always told me I could go back (to school) whenever. So, this is whenever,” Smith told Helen Ross of the PGA Tour’s official website.
Smith is waiting for the NCAA to sort out his eligibility. While he did play professionally in the NBA, Smith never attended college, and North Carolina A&T golf coach Richard Watkins sounded confident that Smith will ultimately be allowed to play.
“He’s a former professional athlete, but (it’s) a unique set of circumstances,” Watkins said. “He didn’t go to college, never matriculated, the clock never started.”
It’s clear this isn’t just a publicity stunt. Smith is moving his entire family of five to Greensboro while he attends classes. The 16-year NBA veteran is also an avid golfer who plays to a 5 handicap. He has been seen in the gallery at multiple PGA Tour events, so his interest in joining the team is genuine.
Smith didn’t play in the NBA last season, and this decision makes it fairly certain that the 35-year-old won’t be doing so again. If that’s the case, his career ended in tremendously fitting style.
Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0