J.R. Smith may have retired from the NBA, but the two-time champion will be the new kid on campus when classes start next week at North Carolina A&T.
Smith, 35, enrolled in the school’s Liberal Arts program and hopes to reignite his athletic prowess by joining the golf team.
“They always told me I could go back [to school] whenever when I was coming out of high school, so this is whenever for me,” said Smith during an interview with WFMY News 2.
After vacationing with former Heat star Ray Allen in the Dominican Republic, Smith decided he was ready for a new challenge.
“Golf is one of those games have you feeling really high or bring you down to your knees. Humble you,” said Smith. “To have that feeling and knowing all of the game is pretty much on my own hands, and I don’t have to worry about teammates to pass the ball to.”
Smith started playing golf about 12 years ago, learning from NBA legend Moses Malone.
Now, the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is ready to test his skills on the collegiate level.
“Playing with coach and some of the guys on the team it’s been helpful,” said Smith, who said his handicap is at 5.
“I can just play my game, and you know, just have fun.”
Smith starts classes on August 18.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to school, so I’m excited,” said Smith. “Between raising kids and going to school, my schedule is pretty full.”
Smith was the 18th pick in the 2004 draft, forgoing college and entering the NBA.
“I can’t wait to be a part of an HBSC family, to really be embraced by everybody on campus so far. I can’t wait to see the students and start going to some of the football games and start really repin Aggie pride.”
Smith played 17 seasons in the NBA, his last coming in the Orlando bubble as a member of the Lakers championship team.