JR Smith has seen all the ups and downs of the NBA during his long career. In his 16 seasons in the league, Smith celebrated the thrill of winning a championship (two to be precise), suffering the agony of defeat in the NBA finals, and tackling some of the toughest NBA players of the 2000s and 2010s .
But on his most recent debut for the North Carolina A&T golf team, Smith had a painful experience he never had to deal with on the basketball court.
JR Smith stabbed with a dose of reality on his college golf debut
JR Smith of North Carolina A&T reacts to a putt during the Phoenix Invitational at Alamance Country Club | Grant Halverson / Getty Images
If you haven’t kept up with Smith in retirement, it might be surprising to learn that he’s now a 36-year-old college student who plays for his school’s golf team. Yeah, that’s not a joke.
Smith recently enrolled with North Carolina A&T for a Liberal Studies degree, and he’s also walked on the golf team. Earlier this week, the former NBA journeyman took part in his first college golf tournament.
At the Phoenix Invitational at Alamance Country Club, Smith shot 12 over par 83 on his opening round. He followed with rounds of 78 and 79 to finish the tournament at 27 over. These are fantastic results for a casual golfer, but Smith still finished the event 81st place out of 84 players.
It was a tough wake-up call for Smith regarding the level of competition at the college level, but he was still pleased with his performance.
“Great couple of days!” Smith wrote in a tweet. “Thank you Elon Golf for the great hospitality that my teammates and I really enjoyed! Look forward to next year! #AggiePride first 3 rounds of college golf on the books! I’m really proud of myself, it’s not easy! 83-78-79. “
But the most eventful part of Smith’s debut wasn’t even golf.
JR Smith was also stung by a swarm of yellow jackets
Smith wasn’t stung by a dose of reality at his first college golf tournament. He was also attacked and stung by a swarm of yellow vests after rolling his wheelbarrow over a nest on his third round.
The two-time NBA champion received medical attention after the incident but was able to finish the round and score a respectable 79.
“Getting stabbed on the basketball court or in an arena never happens,” Smith said on ESPN after the tournament. “It’s one of the very few things you don’t have to worry about [in basketball] – other animals. When I was stung, I thought, ‘No way’. “
After playing in the NBA for 16 years, no stitches in the yellow jacket could stop Smith from finishing this round.
Tries to impress his NBA colleagues
Smith’s A&T debut in North Carolina captured the golf world and got his old NBA friends talking too. LeBron James tweeted on his former teammate to congratulate him on a good job, and Chris Paul got in touch afterward to tell Smith how many new fans he had.
“I’ve had a lot of great feedback,” said Smith. “Chris Paul told me the guys in the locker room were talking about it. The guys are really looking for my results so I have to take care of the business so that there isn’t too much backlash when I see them.
Now it’s back to the driving range for Smith as he hopes to be stronger at his next event and impress his pals.
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