Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 3:20 pm  |  27 responses

Links: Talking Golf with JR Smith


by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

My phone rang yesterday, and it was an NBA player wanting to talk about playing golf. If you had to choose an NBA player who was an avid golfer, JR Smith probably wouldn’t be the first to come to mind — you don’t see a lot of golfers with “SWISH” neck tats.

But it’s true: JR Smith loves playing golf. Two years ago, there was a story of a man who randomly was paired with JR at a municipal course in Denver, and the writer went for a hole-in-one and got a chest-bump with JR.

Since then, JR’s hit the links more and more. Next week in his home state of New Jersey, he’ll be hosting the 4th Annual JR Smith Youth Foundation Golf Classic.

SLAM: So, you’re a golfer?

JR SMITH: Yeah! I got into the sport within the last year and a half. I like it, it’s challenging. It just gives me another thing to think about when I’m not playing basketball.

SLAM: I’ve talked to other NBA guys who play golf, and they say they like that it’s peaceful, getting to be outdoors, having time to yourself.

JR SMITH: Yeah, you get time to yourself. You get to be in a nice environment — being outdoors is always a plus for me. It’s just enjoying nice days.

SLAM: How often do get to play?

JR SMITH: I play at the end of the year and at the beginning of the year. Last year I played a lot during the Playoffs. Played a lot during the Lakers Playoffs series.

SLAM: Tell me about the JR Smith Youth Foundation?

JR SMITH: My foundation is pretty much to get kids scholarships to camps, schools, I give scholarships to a bunch of little girls so they can go to cheerleading camps. Just things that can keep kids doing something positive. It’s based out of Jersey, because that’s where I’m from, but we try to give and help out everywhere. We did Hurricane Katrina relief my rookie year, and we just keep going on.

SLAM: What do you want to come from this golf tournament? Raise money, raise awareness of your foundation?

JR SMITH: For me, I really want to get kids into playing golf, the younger generation in my area. I think golf can be a great sport for kids. I never really had the opportunity to play growing up, and it’s a way to keep kids involved in something positive and keep them active. People always complain about how big kids are and say we should get them involved in more stuff, so why not?

SLAM: You know, I didn’t play golf growing up and only started playing about ten years ago, and now I’m hooked on it. Do you think kids have the patience to really embrace golf?

JR SMITH: I think it’s about the individual. I thought I would never be interested in it, and now I’m hooked. So I think it’s just the individual.

SLAM: Why didn’t you think you’d be interested?

JR SMITH: I just thought it was boring, just watching golf and stuff like that. But after playing it on the Wii, I wanted to really play it, and I just got hooked.

SLAM: Don’t you think people don’t realize that golf is actually really hard?

JR SMITH: It really is. People who criticize golfers when they’re struggling, they don’t ever really see how hard golf is.

SLAM: How’s your summer been? You been working out?

JR SMITH: Yeah, it’s been going great. Working out, been down in Louisville with my brother working out. It’s been great so far.

SLAM: You also played for the Nuggets summer league team. How was that?

JR SMITH: Summer league was cool. I was rehabbing my injury from my ankle, so I really didn’t play like I wanted to, but it was fun to get out there with the younger guys.

SLAM: What do you make of all the rumors circulating that Carmelo Anthony wants a trade?

JR SMITH: Uh, I really don’t know. I’m just excited to see what happens. I’m lost for words.

SLAM: You excited to get Coach Karl back?

JR SMITH: I can’t wait to get him back. He’s the biggest asset that we have.

SLAM: Nothing against Coach Dantley, but it seemed like you guys really missed Coach Karl during the Playoffs.

JR SMITH: Like you said, nothing against Coach Dantley, but you always want to go into battle with your big guns, and that was what we needed.

The 4th Annual JR Smith Youth Foundation Golf Classic will be held next Thursday, August 26, at the Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ. For more information, please call 609-223-0380.

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  • total scrotal implosion

    Dont let him drive the cart

  • total scrotal implosion

    So, he was golfing during 09 playoffs? Esp lal series?. Thats probably not the best time.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne


  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Phone rings and it was JR himself calling direct? To talk golf? Yep, wouldn’t have expected that. I laughed at his answer to the Melo question ‘Uh, I really don’t know. I’m just excited to see what happens. I’m lost for words.’

  • total scrotal implosion

    Also, golf barely counts as ‘outdoors’. Everything is homogenized for your safety. Grass is super chemically treated, etc. If u want to play a game of skill involving balls and holes, play pool, it is much better. If u want to be outside, go to a park, take a hike, etc. Golf sucks

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Makes a lot of sense that JR Smith loves golf, a game where defense is nonexistent, centered around trying to put a ball in a hole from very long range.

  • http://burmesemtv.com Linn

    it’s good thing.. for him

    at least, he pays attention rather than living in tattoo parlors. LOL

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    Jr’s answer tells u everything… watching them play last season, it was begining to look like Melo and Jr started to resent eachother on the court (off the court they r good friends tho).

  • Da Real

    Joel killed it!

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    That’s sick.
    Makes me happy that JR is happy.

  • JoeMaMa

    JR Smith throws up gang signs after birdies. Which pisses me off. I’m not in his gang.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    more golf, less tats.

  • liz

    to joemama Jr is not in any gangs nor has he ever been in any gangs

    there are no gangs in Millstone unless you count the deer that are roaming around, that is where JR grow up…

  • bakers’ dozen (12-13)

    Wonder how JR would do as the #1 option without Melo? Probably not a good thing to have, but just wondering…

  • total scrotal implosion

    What does HIGO mean in the fake sheed twitter from recent ish?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @total scrotal: http://www.theroots.com/


    Golfing is obviously a very tranquil place/environment for JR to relax/escape after another poor shooting performance for the Nuggets in the playoffs. I get it.

  • total scrotal implosion

    ben, i know of the group, could you be more specific?

  • Carlos

    @total: HIGO=HowIGotOver

  • total scrotal implosion

    Thanks los,

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    That JR Smith (with hole-in-one dude) video was a classic from City Park (Denver) from a couple years ago. A golf game is one of Earl’s most endearing qualities. Although, living in Denver, it’s kinda tough to not pick up the game of golf. About a billion affordable, quality, public courses all around the city, not to mention 320 days of sunshine every year. I used to love running the springtime snowboarding in the AM, 9 holes in the afternoon-type days. Back in my active/pre-fatherhood days.

  • unrel

    when i read the headline.. the only thing i can hear in my head was Martin talking about his theory about billiards in Boomerang..

  • Czechmate

    Every time I think of JR Smith I think of his between the legs dunk at the All Star Game and the reactions of a fat guy sitting the background who stands up with both arms in the air . . .

  • Czechmate

    And by JR Smith and I meant JR Rider . . . . . . HA! . . . . . . Totally thought of the wrong person reading this article . . . . although they are one in the same . . . .


    CHOKING with Earl JR Smith

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I wonder if J.R. Smith chokes fools out for not replacing their divots.

  • AI TO MIAMI!!!

    @total – JR Smith dont like da lakers haha