2 min read

The Road From The NBA to College Golf

The Road From The NBA to College Golf

Who Shot J.R.? Good question if you were an 80s night time soap opera junkie.

What did J.R. shoot? A suddenly apt question in the not too distant future.

In case you haven’t heard, veteran NBA player J.R. Smith has returned to college to pursue some higher education.

J.R. Smith, the basketball player, as the world knows (or perhaps doesn’t):

  • Signed to play basketball at the University of North Carolina (BTW: Go To Hell Duke)
  • Skipped college altogether, drafted 18th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft
  • Played 16 seasons for a variety of NBA teams, won two championships
  • Famously doesn’t like wearing shirts at championship parades

All this to say that J.R could have taken his approximately $90M in career earnings, simply retired, played golf as a leisurely pursuit, all while sipping on some Hennesey cognac.

Although not officially retired, his 16 years of professional basketball has left him yearning to pursue a college degree and potentially start up a collegiate golf career while on campus.

  • Currently pursuing a liberal studies degree at North Carolina A&T University
  • Not on scholarship, looking to walk on to the golf team, paying his own way
  • Last hurdle was cleared recently, when Smith was cleared to compete by the NCAA

This isn’t just a matter of a celebrity athlete looking to make news, the dude is a good golfer:

  • Been playing for ~12 years, started to dramatically improve in the last 5-6 years
  • Currently plays off a 5-handicap, strength of his game is length of the tee
  • Never had a coach, improved by mimicking tips he watched on Golf Channel
  • Dustin Johnston’s assessment -> “He can play. Fact.”

His first classroom assignment this week was where he sees himself in 5 years. His vision involves getting more kids, especially girls (he has four daughters), involved in all levels of golf. Bravo J.R, well put, we can all get behind that attitude.

One piece of advice for Mr. Smith - even though there is no clock like there is in basketball, don’t lose track of the score...this is equally important in golf. Lebron James, and your new 20-something teammates, thank you in advance.