Earlier today, former NBA player J.R. Smith took to the golf course to make his collegiate debut for North Carolina A&T.
Smith traveled with the rest of his new team to the Elon Phoenix Invitational at Alamance Country Club in Burlington, North Carolina and played his first round of 18 holes on Monday morning. Video taken by WMFY News 2 producer Brian Hall showed the 36-year-old looking rather sharp through the first few holes.
The rest of Smith’s round didn’t exactly go according to plan, but his mere presence at the tournament impressed those that remember him as a former NBA champion.
LeBron James, who won titles with Smith in 2016 and 2020, was among those who caught a glimpse of Smith out on the course and took to Twitter to share how proud he was of his former teammate.
“HOW AMAZING IS THIS MAN!!! DAMN IM BEYOND PROUD OF MY BROTHER,” James wrote Monday.
HOW AMAZING IS THIS MAN!!! DAMN IM BEYOND PROUD OF MY BROTHER! https://t.co/i4Vsi8Pskk
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 11, 2021
Despite his solid start, Smith stumbled throughout the rest of his round to card a 12-over, 83. The score left him tied for 79th after eight bogeys, two double bogeys, two birdies and six pars.
Smith has his round dropped from the North Carolina A&T team score, but still had some impressive moments in his first 18 holes. Given that he hasn’t played much, if any, competitive golf in his life, the debut was a rather solid start to his collegiate career.
Smith’s journey back to college as a freshman has been one of the feel-good sports stories of the year. After earning his spot on the team as a walk-on, the 36-year-old has documented his first few months as a student on social media.
Monday’s invitational appearance is the culmination of Smith’s hard work over the last few months and deserves to be celebrated as such. That being said, he’ll look to post a better score in the tournament’s second round on Monday afternoon.
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