J.R. Smith made millions in the NBA. Yet, he wishes he had spent his earnings more wisely for the common good.
Smith aimed to maintain a specific luxury image after leaving Lakewood, NJ, for the league in 2004. The pursuit of an image throughout his 16-season career left him unsatisfied, even after winning a second NBA Championship in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Among Smith’s spending habits were trips to strip clubs, dropping thousands of dollars on extravagances, and receiving NBA fines for being tardy.
“I could have fed my whole community 10 times over with the money I was just [paying in fines for being] late on the bus,” Smith explained.
He continued: “You know how many people you can change [their] lifestyle with $10 million in our hood?” Smith said. “We’d rather go throw $60,000 in the strip club…than go feed 2,500 people in the hood.”
In retrospect, he recognizes the money could have been better spent by supporting communities in need.
So, when he retired from the league he pivoted his focus to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As AfroTech previously told you, Smith attends North Carolina A&T State University, the country’s largest HBCU.
CNBC reports his interest in attending the HBCU was to improve Black students’ educational outcomes.
″[Athletes make] their schools… millions and millions over again… and the $50,000 [they donate back] changes nothing,” Smith explained. “But the $50,000 to $100,000 you give to HBCUs, it changes lives.”
The extent of Smith’s donations, beyond his tuition, to North Carolina A&T State University is unknown.