J.R. Smith is recognized for many things, but student-athlete isn’t one of them.
As of this week, that is no longer true.
On Tuesday, the NCAA deemed the two-time NBA champion eligible to play golf at North Carolina A&T. This comes on the heels of Smith’s enrollment at the university.
“It was probably one of the most exciting feelings I’ve had in a while,” said Smith in an interview with The Undefeated. “I really didn’t know how it was gonna go. I hear so much about the NCAA all the time how they’re doing this, and they don’t know what they want to do with that, but to be able to actually call myself a student-athlete is a great feeling.”
Smith, 35, is a New Jersey native who made the jump from basketball powerhouse Saint Benedict’s Prep in Newark to the NBA.
He was selected by the then New Orleans Hornets with the 18th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.
Smith moved on to play for the Nuggets, Knicks, Raptors, Cavaliers, and Lakers. He won titles with the latter two (2016, 2020, respectively).
Over his 16-year career, J.R. Smith averaged 12.4 points and 2.1 assists.
Now he’s officially a college student-athlete at one of the top-ranked and most popular HBCU institutions in the country.
“My favorite class I think right now in my life was African studies is liberal studies,” said Smith.
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