It wouldn’t be a proper J.R. Smith story if it didn’t include a bizarre plot twist, and in his efforts to keep that streak alive, the former NBA star personally ensured that his first collegiate golf tournament stayed on brand.
ESPN and Yahoo Sports report that on Tuesday, during the second day of Elon’s Phoenix Invitational, the first freshman in the history of North Carolina A&T who just so happens to be a two-time NBA champ (it’s true, Google is free) also became the first freshman in the history of North Carolina A&T who just so happens to be a two-time NBA champ to get stung by some goddamn hornets during his round—because of course, he did.
From Yahoo Sports:
The NBA veteran turned North Carolina A&T student-athlete completed the first tournament of his golfing career on Tuesday, but experienced a painful moment early in the final round. Simply put, he stepped on a hive of yellow jackets while looking for his ball in the woods.
And for you non-believers, I present Exhibit A:
As ESPN explains it, the 36-year-old Smith became a victim of a hate crime on his third hole:
His tee shot went off the fairway and became embedded in pine straw. He found the ball, but his pull cart’s wheel rolled over the the nest.
Smith darted away from that area, waving his arms, before needing treatment. Smith, along with playing partners Florian Blatti of George Washington and Whatley, were granted a 15-minute break as other groups played through.
The situation was apparently bad enough (I mean, it’s not like the hornets were there to offer words of encouragement) that a medical cart was called over to provide treatment to the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year. And if this sounds like some J.R. Smith ass shit, that’s because it 100 percent is some J.R. Smith ass shit.
“To get stung on the basketball court or in an arena, never happens,” the freshman walk-on said. “That’s one of the very few things you don’t have to worry about [in basketball]—other animals. When I got stung, I was like ‘No way.’”
Oh, trust me, J.R., we were all like “No way,” too.
But despite the painful setback, he kept his spirits high.
“I tried to turn it into a positive,” Smith said, before referencing Michael Jordan’s heroic exploits in the NBA. “This might be your equivalent of a flu game.”
As we previously reported at The Root, in August, Smith enrolled at North Carolina A&T with an expressed desire to not only pursue a degree in liberal studies but to play on the school’s golf team. That goal has now been achieved, although he probably wishes he performed a bit better in his first-ever golf tournament as a collegiate athlete. After an ugly start on Monday, he finished the tournament 27-over and placed 81st out of 84 competitors.
Wishing J.R. a quick recovery from all 791,346 of those hornet stings and hopefully, his next tournament will be a far less painful experience.