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J.R. Smith makes golf debut for HBCU North Carolina A&T

Back in August, the NBA veteran became a freshman walk-on for the men’s golf team.

J.R. Smith Getty Images

Former NBA player J.R. Smith has officially started his collegiate journey into the world of golf.

On Monday (Oct. 11), Smith made his debut for the North Carolina A&T men’s golf team. According to The Athletic, he shot 83-78 after Day 1 of the competition of the Elon Phoenix Tournament, which took place in Burlington, North Carolina. He beat a pair of La Salle golfers and his team currently sits in 11th place out of 13. “He has a good enough golf game to put up some good numbers,” said A&T men’s golf coach Richard Watkins. “But this is what I tell people. If you want to find out how good a golfer really is, put the word tournament or money in front of the round.”

“Playing when there is nothing on the line is one thing,” he added. “But, put meaning to it, and the heart rate changes. The grip on the club changes, and we get to see who you really are.”

On Monday, LeBron James took to Twitter to show his support to his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate. “HOW AMAZING IS THIS MAN!!!” he tweeted, alongside a video of Smith golfing. “DAMN IM BEYOND PROUD OF MY BROTHER!”

Back in August, the 16-year NBA veteran became a freshman walk-on for the men’s golf team. Smith said he was drawn to North Carolina A&T because he was wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

The two-time NBA champion said he has been playing golf for about 12 years, but began to take his game more seriously and improved his swing on his own by getting tips off the Golf Channel.

“I just know how to compete with myself,” Smith said. “As being a shooter and with golf, it correlates to trying to hit different shots and your creativity, and that swing and try to have that flow and tempo.”

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