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In 2018, former NBA guard JR Smith famously turned his back on the basket and ran from it with the clock ticking down in Game One of the Finals. LeBron James rightfully lost his mind, very publicly, and a classic meme was born.
Now, Smith is going to give going towards the hole a shot, but not in the way you might expect. The two-time NBA champ is actually a five handicap on the golf course, and he wants to play at the college level with his unused eligibility (Smith jumped straight from high school to the NBA in 2004, right before the one-and-done rule came into effect.)
Recently retired from the NBA, Smith decided to enroll at North Carolina A&T State University, one of the nation’s top historically black college and universities.
Richard Watkins, who coaches both the men’s and women’s teams at the university, sounds excited to possibly coach Smith, assuming the NCAA allows the unique request.
“It’s a big deal for A&T. It’s a big deal for him,” Watkins said. “It’s not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to have a thought, a dream, an idea, and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction.
“He’s a former professional athlete, but (it’s) a unique set of circumstances. He didn’t go to college, never matriculated, the clock never started.”
According to Smith, he’s most excited to be in control of the whole effort.
“[I’m looking forward] to have that feeling of knowing that all of the game’s pretty much on my own hands, and I don’t have to worry about teammates to pass the ball and receiving passes and playing defense, so I can play my game and just have fun.
“I can’t wait to be part of an HBCU family.”
(Cover image thanks to Kevin Losani.)