JR Smith ended his stellar 16-year career by riding off into the sunset with another championship alongside LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers during an unprecedented 2020 campaign.
The 35-year-old has since gone from playing on the hardwood to hitting the links at a high level. It appears this has spurred him to explore his options on a new sport post-retirement from basketball.
Smith revealed that he will be attending North Carolina A&T State University to pursue a degree in liberal studies. The former NBA sharpshooter is also looking to switch out his sneakers for a pair of golf spikes while he is there.
Smith credited both Ray Allen and Chris Paul for giving him the push he needed to go back to school, via Bryan Hall of WFMY News 2:
“Ray Allen kind of convinced me. We had a little gold trip in D.R. [Dominican Republic] and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, going back to school, challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took into it and decided to go back at one of the best liberal studies programs in A&T. It just so happens I got deep roots in Carolina with Chris Paul and C.J. Paul. After that, things started trickling down to see if I still got eligibility so we’ll see what’s going on there. But more importantly, just try to educate myself, do something after basketball. They always told me I could go back whenever when I was coming out of high school so, this is whenever.”
It is encouraging to see fellow players like Allen and Paul do what they can to help Smith in his next endeavor. His comments are indicative of just how close-knit the NBA brotherhood is, especially for those that managed to leave a positive impact on former teammates.
Smith credited NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone for getting him started in golf at a charity event that he hosted over a decade ago. The former Sixth Man of the Year has since become an avid fan of the sport and revealed that he even holds a 5 handicap.
— Brian Hall (@bhallwfmy) August 11, 2021
Of course, it remains to be seen if the NCAA would allow a professional athlete with $90 million in career earnings to compete. Fortunately, Smith could have good reason to be optimistic under the NCAA’s new NIL policy considering he never played college basketball or played golf as a professional.
George Karl takes shot at Carmelo Anthony
The Purple and Gold have once again made the stars align with the arrival of household names like Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. However, there is still some concern regarding how overall age and fit of this group.
One person that is not convinced is Smith and Anthony’s former coach George Karl, who took a shot at the veteran by criticizing his lack of effort on defense or team ball.
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