J.R. Smith explains why Dustin Johnson is one of his golf heroes

Two-time NBA champion J.R. Smith grew up playing just about every sport with his brothers and cousins: baseball, basketball, football. But it wasn’t until he was playing basketball professionally that he took his first golf swing at a charity outing. He’s been hooked ever since, and even plans to compete on his college golf team at North Carolina A&T as he works toward a liberal arts degree.

Since taking up the game, Smith has had the chance to tee it up with some of golf’s most famous faces at pro-ams around the country. And on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Smith revealed the names of some of his golf heroes.

J.R. Smith in finish position
These are the similarities between basketball and golf, according to J.R. Smith
By: Jessica Marksbury

“Tiger (Woods) obviously, just for what he means to the game,” Smith said. “JT (Justin Thomas). I love Brooks’ (Koepka) attitude towards the game. I love the charisma DJ (Dustin Johnson) has. When he hits a bad shot, he’s like, I don’t worry about it, I’ll make up for it next hole.”

Harmon compared Johnson’s game to having a shooter’s mentality: If I miss a shot, give me the ball back, because I want to shoot again. Smith agreed.

“Not only that, but when you do get the ball, you’re not going to try and guide the ball in,” Smith said. “You’re gonna shoot it. I think when people miss the fairway left or right they get so tensed up and try to compartmentalize their issues in their swing instead of just swinging the club.”

For more from Smith, including why he decided not to go to college when he first had the chance, and the similarities between golf and basketball, check out his full interview below.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.