Former NBA player JR Smith may soon be a student-athlete.
The 35-year-old two-time NBA champion is enrolling at North Carolina A&T State University, an HBCU, where he is hoping to play for the school’s golf team, Smith announced at the Wyndham Championship Pro-Am in North Carolina on Wednesday.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that Smith is pursuing a liberal studies degree and is waiting on the NCAA to sort out his eligibility.
Smith never attended college and was drafted out of St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey by the New Orleans Hornets in 2004.
He spent 16 years in the NBA, earning an estimated $90.3 million over his career, which spanned with the Hornets, Nuggets, Knicks, Cavaliers and Lakers — winning a championship with the latter two teams.
Smith is also an avid golfer, though, learning how to play the game from Moses Malone more than a decade ago.
He reportedly plays a 5 handicap and have been playing practice rounds with members of the N.C. A&T team this summer while he waits for the NCAA clearinghouse to make a decision on his eligibility.
“It’s not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to do this and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction.” N.C. A&T coach John Dell told the Winston-Salem Journal. “You know, he’s a former professional athlete, but it’s a set of circumstances where he didn’t go to college out of high school. His [eligibility] clock never started.”
Smith told reporters he is looking forward to the new opportunity.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in school,” he said, via the Winston-Salem Journal. “I’m excited about these new challenges, and I’ll have to really buckle down. I’ve got no free time now with raising kids and going to school so I’ll be busy.”