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Golfers We Like

J.R. Smith launches new podcast with Stephen Malbon and Ben Baller, continues to take over the golf world

January 25, 2023
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J.R. Smith with Ben Baller (left) and Stephen Malbon on the Par 3 Podcast.

Good news, sports fans, J.R. Smith is back running a three-man weave. He’s just got a microphone in his hands instead of a basketball these days.

The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year and two-time world champ is part of a new golf show called the Par 3 Podcast, which made its debut on Wednesday. Smith is a co-host with fellow golf buddies Stephen Malbon and Ben Baller.

“I thought that basically it'd be a great idea to get three people who are non-pro golfers from not traditional golf backgrounds and speak about three different aspects, three different perspectives of the game of golf that we love,” said Baller, an entrepreneur and proclaimed jeweler to the stars who also hosts the popular Behind the Baller with Ben Baller podcast. “I think that when we all discussed the show prior, we have such a great outlook and future to what we want this show to be and how we wanna, you know, clear up any misconceptions or whatever it may be.”

“Basically all three of us are obsessed with golf, but we all kind of came into that obsession in different ways, obviously at different times and from different backgrounds,” Malbon, a trailblazer in the golf fashion industry and the co-founder of Malbon Golf, added. “And so coming together to talk about golf, it's like, that's all we really wanna talk about anyway is golf and in general. So, it’s very comfortable. It's very easy. It's very free-flowing . . . It’s going to be a kind of ever-changing show.”

Here’s the podcast’s official teaser:

While Malbon and Baller both have fashion and business backgrounds, Smith provides a former pro athlete’s take on the sport that he currently plays as an amateur. Following his NBA career, Smith, who turned pro out of high school, began attending North Carolina A&T State in 2021.

An avid golfer dating back to his NBA days, Smith is playing the most—and best—golf of his life as a sophomore on the Aggie’s men’s golf team. But despite all his experiences on the course—from playing Pine Valley to playing in college tournaments to playing with PGA Tour pros and Michael Jordan—he still feels he has a lot to explore in the game.

“There's so many different things and nuances that I don’t know and places I haven't been,” Smith said. “In basketball, I feel like I've been in every arena, been in pretty much every situation. I know pretty much everything there is about the game. For me, golf’s completely different and I like to talk about golf way more than I like to talk about basketball now.”

There will be plenty of golf talk among this trio as Par 3 will release new episodes every Wednesday. And given their various connections, including through Excel Sports Management, an impressive list of guests is expected, from George Lopez to Michelle Wie.

“The whole “Par 3” thing, we do three of us, so we always have room for our guests so we could do a foursome and play somewhere,” said Malbon, who hopes to attract to new fans to the sport while providing an entertaining product for longtime golf fans as well. “Basically we all golf every day anyway.”