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Back to School: Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith enrolls at North Carolina A&T, hopes to make golf team

“It's a big deal for A&T. It's a big deal for him."

CLEVELAND — Mr. Smith is headed to...Greensboro, North Carolina!

Former Cavaliers guard JR Smith, now 35-years-old, has enrolled at North Carolina A&T University with the intention of pursuing a degree in liberal studies at one of the nation's premiere historically Black universities (HBCU).

But that's not all. Smith is also hoping to become eligible to join the Aggies' golf team. Keep in mind, Smith went straight to the NBA out of high school in 2004. 

So why is Smith going back to school? 

"Ray Allen kind of convinced me," Smith told 3News' sister station WFMY on Wednesday. "We had a little golf trip in [the Dominican Republic] and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, about going back to school and challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took heed to it and decided to go back -- and one of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T."

Golf has always been one of Smith's passions. According to PGATour.com, he carries a 5 handicap. North Carolina A&T golf coach Richard Watkins told the site that having Smith would be a great opportunity for both he and the school.

“It's a big deal for A&T. It's a big deal for him,” said Watkins. “It's not very often that somebody in his position really has an opportunity to have a thought, a dream, an idea, and to be able to go ahead and move in that direction. He's a former professional athlete, but (it’s) a unique set of circumstances. He didn't go to college, never matriculated, the clock never started.”

Smith played parts of five seasons with the Cavaliers and was a key member during their run to the NBA Championship in 2015-16. He reunited with LeBron James for a second ring as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019-2020. 

On Instagram Story, James lent his support to Smith on his decision with flames and applause. 

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