JR Smith has entered the next chapter of his career as he evolved from a two-time champion to a college student-athlete at NC A&T, where he earned a 4.0 GPA his first semester of college and was named an academic athlete. Year at North Carolina HBCU.
A major reason a college student became a professional hooper was former teammate Ray Allen, a fellow golfer who Smith called “a great motivational speaker” and inspired Smith to educate himself while the two were traveling. In the Dominican Republic.
“I was working like I was trying to make the league again,” Smith said at the complex. “It was fun as hell. When I got my first A in class, it was like I beat someone or hit a winner.
Smith’s pole took on even more significance after his oldest daughter told him she was proud of him for going back to school, a moment that made Smith emotional.
The proud moment partially fulfilled Smith’s goal of pursuing a college degree. The sixth-former wanted to set an example for his daughters to “know that they are worth it” that they can get a higher education no matter where they are.
“She looked at me and said, ‘Dad, I’m so glad you’re back at school,’ and I had to get up and leave,” Smith said. “My oldest has seen it all. She has seen the good and the bad. She’s in the thick of it. And when you told me that, it really blew my mind.”
“It was for me, but most of all, I did it to help you… for one, no matter how old you are, you can always get your education. It was also about understanding your self-esteem, especially for young black women in this country.
As J.R. Smith continues to walk away from a game of great moments (two titles, 2013 Sixth Man of the Year) and huge mistakes (Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals), Smith can move on knowing that he’s defying the stereotypes. Like him. No matter what anyone thinks about the “100 percent reality” that the NBA has gone from him, Smith has achieved his goal.