124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Back to School

J.R. Smith spotted on campus, in virtual classes as NCAA clears him to play on N.C. A&T golf team

August 24, 2021

One of the coolest non-tour golf stories of the year belongs to J.R. Smith. Two weeks ago, we told you how the two-time NBA champion and avid golfer had enrolled at North Carolina A&T in an attempt to play on the school’s golf team. Smith joined the NBA straight out of high school and it was believed he had a full tank of eligibility yet, but still the NCAA had to make sure everything was above board before Smith could be approved for college athletics. On Monday, that news became official, when Smith got the green light he had been waiting for.

Like we said, it’s an awesome story—equal parts ‘Billy Madison’ and ‘Happy Gilmore’—but it gets even better. Fall classes at North Carolina A&T began last week, and although Smith was still awaiting full approval from the NCAA on athletics, he wasted no time getting to work on his liberal studies major, spotted by his peers not only in virtual classes but on campus as well. You really can’t make this stuff up.

You gotta love the North Carolina A&T sweats. You also gotta love the idea of Smith—a man most famous for going shirtless for 48 hours while celebrating the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA championship in Vegas—back to school shopping for binders and Post-It notes. But mostly it’s just cool to see a celebrity athlete with millions in the bank pursue a life experience that most would assume had passed them by. Of course, there’s no word yet on if Smith will actually make the Aggies golf team, but at a five handicap with the work ethic to match, we wouldn’t bet against him.