J.R. Smith has won a championship and created many highlights in his career (although most of them made the Shaqtin-a-fool list.) Still, the things you think of when someone mentions J.R. are not knowing the score in a Finals game, throwing hot soup at a teammate, and getting burned by Barack Obama. Given the fact NBA executives showed no interest in him, J.R. turned his focus to another sport - one that, at first glance, doesn't suit his character.
Back to school
In an unexpected move, J.R. Smith decided to return to school. At 35 years old, he can still finish his studies which got halted because of professional basketball. Smith never had the chance to go to college, and he now has an opportunity to get a diploma from North Carolina AT&T State University if all plans fall into place.
If accepted, Smith plans to play for the Aggies golf team. There are technicalities that the NCAA will still decide if he would be allowed to study again or join the golf team, but JR is not entirely a newbie on this sport. The combo guard has over ten years of experience playing and counts legends Moses Malone and Ray Allen as motivators to try golf after basketball.
“Ray Allen kind of convinced me. We had a little golf trip in (the Dominican Republic) and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, about going back to school and challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took heed to it and decided to go back – and one of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T.”
Ray Allen, Yahoo Sports
Many notable players play golf. Michael Jordan even played golf during the Finals (and still dropped monster numbers.) Stephen Curry, Charles Barkley, Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, and Mike Conley all stay sharp off the court by sinking long-range shots on the golf course. Who would've thought that out of all of them, J.R. would be the one to start a career as a golfer.
Difference between golf and basketball
The difference between the two sports may seem vast at first, but the approach remains the same. It requires focus, attention to detail, and physical preparation. There is one important difference - in basketball, you feed off the crowd's energy, while in golf, it's all about mental discipline. Not something J.R. is known for.
Pursuing education despite being a millionaire is an admirable act that would set an excellent example for college dropouts everywhere. Who knows, maybe J.R. will surprise everyone and have a decent career. One thing that works in his favor - there's no shot clock in golf.