Former NBA forward Josh Smith starred in the Atlanta Hawks frontcourt for nearly a decade after being taken with the 17th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Now, having last played professionally in 2017, the 37-year-old tells Mason Smith of Peachtree Hoops that he has “different passions… going into the next chapter of my career and life.”

Having recently worked with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) during the HBCU Top 50 Camp in Atlanta, the Georgia native reveals that he “wanted to do coaching.”

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

“The NBPA has great programs for us to reach the needs that former players need to be reached,” he says.

“I was a professional player,” Smith says, “so I plan to eventually coach on the professional level one day. That’s definitely one of my dreams that I want to accomplish. And I think I’m taking the right steps to get there.”

Like anybody trying to earn their stripes, the 2005 Slam Dunk Champion is working his way up, coaching high-schoolers as well as an 8th-grade and 4th-grade team on the AAU circuit, per Peachtree Hoops. Smith also coached during the HBCU Top 50 Camp, delivering messages focused on player development, which is equal parts mind, body and skill.

One of the last prep-to-pro players, Smith attended McEachern High School in Powder Springs before transferring to powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior year, where he would play alongside future NBA star Rajon Rondo. Making a name for himself in the league due to his outstanding defensive impact and a versatility, his body of work as a player speaks for itself.

Now, as Smith readies himself for a new challenge, he has the opportunity to be as impactful on the sideline as he was in the paint.