Former NBA player J.R. Smith is officially set to become a college golfer. The NCAA cleared the veteran of 16 NBA seasons to play golf for North Carolina A&T University, an HBCU, on Tuesday after a review of his amateur status, according to The Undefeated.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Not many have had this opportunity ever. I just want to embrace it and take it as seriously as I can as far as a golfer. Well more as a student but just as well as a golfer as well” Smith says.
The Aggies golf program has been in existence just a handful of years, and Senior Xavier Williams is excited to see the newly added attention he and his teammates will be getting.
“Having an all-star caliber player like JR Smith coming to our team definitely brings a lot of national attention. We all have talked about it and said, this is our opportunity to put A&T on the map. Not just for football but for golf as well.”
However, for Smith, he didn’t want to go back to college just to play golf. Actually according to smith golf was secondary, “Just being able to compete and challenge myself academically is where my heart is right now, and being able to play golf at the same is even better. Gives me the incentive to keep my grades up.”
“I wanted to go to an HBCU, that was my whole goal going back to school. For one to give back to my community and society. Trying to help change the narrative as far as athletes in general then black men as well, so that’s my first goal.”