Former Laker star J.R. Smith started celebrating after earning a 4.0 GPA at the end of his first semester at North Carolina A&T State University.
Smith, 36, posted a video on Instagram after finding out his final grades for the fall semester, Bleacher Report reported.
“I can’t even describe the feeling. I ain’t even gonna lie to you,” he said in the video. “A lot of hard work went into that s**t. When I tell you some s**t you worked for, oh my God. Monday through Friday, 8 to 11, sometimes longer. Straight school work, when you’re not used to going to school and all of that s**t, oh man.”
“Especially when you don’t think you can do it. … You always hear about your disabilities and all this s**t that plays a part in why you can’t think when you want to, calculate and formulate s**t when you want to, and still being able to achieve that s**t… I ain’t even gonna lie, I’m happy about that one,” he said.
The New Jersey native enrolled himself in classes at the HBCU, where he’s also a member of the Aggies’ golf team. Smith participated in four tournaments in September and October in his first season. The team is scheduled to go on winter break for the holidays and resume in the spring, per Bleacher Report.
In October, he said Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul was among the players who reached out to say they were keeping tabs on his progress in the game.
“I got a lot of great feedback,” Smith shared in October, according to the Associated Press. “Chris Paul was telling me guys were talking about it in the locker room. Guys are really looking for my scores, so I got to take care of business so when I see them it ain’t going to be too much backlash.”
As a teen, Smith opted out of the traditional college experience, entered the NBA draft straight out of St. Benedict’s Prep School, and was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft.
Smith played for various teams throughout his 16-year NBA career, including the New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Smith finished his career in 2020 by winning another NBA Championship with the Lakers.
Smith was given a second chance at higher education, gaining success on the golf course and the classroom.