JR Smith has embarked on a new journey after ending his NBA career last year with the Lakers. Smith joined North Carolina A&T to pursue higher education, but also to represent the institution as a part of their golf team.
Smith played in the NBA for over a decade. And during that time, he won 2 NBA championships. Both those championships came while Smith played alongside LeBron James.
The first title came in 2016 when Smith was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith was brought in for his great perimeter scoring and played big minutes alongside LeBron James during their playoff run and the 2016 NBA Finals when the Cavaliers overturned a 3-1 deficit over the Warriors to win the NBA championship.
Smith and James would play together for 2 more seasons, and go to 2 more NBA Finals. But both those series ended in losses to the Golden State Warriors. In fact, Smith made a horrendous blunder during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals that cost the Cavaliers Game 1 of the Finals.
Smith would not play another game in the NBA after the 2018 Finals until 2020 when the Lakers signed JR as a replacement player when entering the NBA bubble. Smith, once again reunited with James, was brought in to replace Avery Bradley. But during the 2020 run, Smith played very few minutes.
Smith walked away from the game in 2020. And this year, he would join North Carolina A&T. LeBron James congratulated JR for making the university's golf team. And now, he gave his former teammate high praise for his first game as a college athlete.
LeBron James took to Twitter to react to JR Smith's debut as a North Carolina A&T gold team player, noting how proud he was of his 'brother', and called him amazing for taking this bold step in his career.
JR and LeBron have always been close. And despite the Game 1 blunder, the two have a lot of respect and love for each other.
JR took a big step by going to college, not only to play golf but also to get his degree and complete his education. And it's clear that LeBron James is proud of his friend for taking this step.