J.R. Smith Wins NCAA Approval To Be A "Student-Athlete"


J.R. Smith has just turned the whole "student-athlete" notion on its ear. Instead of a "student" participating in athletic competition, the 16-year veteran of the NBA wars is now an "athlete" turning "student". 

Smith skipped college 20 years ago to join the NBA. Now, after earning $90 million dollars and winning two world championships as a professional basketball player, the soon-to-be 36-year-old Smith is a freshman walk-on for the golf team at North Carolina A & T. The NCAA granted approval today. 

It was probably one of the most exciting feelings I've had in a while. I really didn't know how it was going to go. ... but to be able to actually call myself a student-athlete is a great feeling.

Smith's NBA world champ teammate LeBron James showed his support today on Twitter.

He'll be exchanging the wild nights playing in front of 20,000 screaming fans for the relative serenity of the college golf green, but Smith expects making that 5-foot putt to be "as nerve-racking as shooting a free throw in front of 5,000 (people)." 

As for the other part of being a student-athlete, it sounds like he's already hitting the books.

His first assignment: Where he sees himself in the next five to ten years. 

“For me, because I have a wild imagination, it’s going to be very interesting,” Smith said. “I don’t know if the professor is prepared for that, and I’m obviously not the average freshman. So I don’t know how I’m going to do.” 

Photo Credit: @TheUndefeated