J.R. Smith is headed back to school. The retired two-time NBA champion is enrolling at North Carolina A&T State University to pursue a degree in liberal studies. An avid golfer, Smith also hopes to play for A&T’s men’s golf program.
The news comes nearly 20 years after the retired NBA star committed to the University of North Carolina, before deciding to forgo college basketball and declare for the 2004 NBA Draft.
Smith spoke with CBS affiliate WFMY about his decision to pursue an education at this point in his post-NBA career.
“One of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T and it just so happens I’ve got deep roots in Carolina with Chris Paul, C.J. Paul,” Smith told the local news station. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in school. I’m excited though. It’s new challenge. I’ve got nothing but free time right now. Between raising kids and going to school, my schedule is pretty full.”
Regarding his wish to join the university’s golf team, Smith revealed that he learned the game from Basketball Hall of Famer Moses Malone.
“Golf is one of those games that can have you feeling really high or it can bring you down to your knees and humble you,” the 35-year-old said. “To have that feeling and knowing that 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, receiving passes and playing defense — I can just play my game and have fun.”
Fresh off winning his first title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, Smith played a round of golf with Complex’s Adam Caparell. Over the course of 18 holes, the NBA star boasted some serious gear: Titleist blades, a Scotty Cameron putter, and TaylorMade woods that U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson gave him. Smith also revealed he’s close with a few guys on the tour, including fellow Nike athlete Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson.
Check out Adam Caparell’s full story about golfing with J.R. Smith here.