Smith in 2015
March 8, 1965 |
Queens, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Listed weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|High school||Archbishop Molloy
(Queens, New York)
|College||North Carolina (1983–1987)|
|NBA draft||1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall|
|Selected by the Sacramento Kings|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||9,397 (12.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,454 (2.0 rpg)|
|Assists||4,073 (5.5 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Kenneth "Kenny" Smith (born March 8, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played in the NBA from 1987 to 1997 as a member of the Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Denver Nuggets. Nicknamed "The Jet", Smith was an All-American at the University of North Carolina and a two-time NBA Champion with the Houston Rockets. Smith is currently a basketball analyst, and has won several Emmys for his work on Inside the NBA on TNT. He also works as an analyst for CBS/Turner during the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
Smith was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York and grew up in Lefrak City. He played some of his earliest basketball at New York's Riverside Church. Smith attended Archbishop Molloy High School, where he was coached by Jack Curran, the winningest high school coach in New York City and New York State history. Smith was named a McDonald's All-American in 1983, then played basketball at the University of North Carolina for Dean Smith. Smith credits former South Carolina State star Bobby Lewis with his development as a shooter and ballhandler. Lewis averaged 30.9 points per game and was a First Team Division II All-American as a senior at South Carolina State. He later developed the Bobby Lewis Basketball Skills Development Program, a training regimen that he presented at basketball camps around the country. Smith attended several of his lectures while in high school, and continued to use Lewis's drills throughout his basketball career, and teaches them at his own basketball camps. Of Lewis, Smith said "He's the best lecturer ever. He had the best influence in terms of my workout regimen without question."
North Carolina Tar Heels
Kenny Smith joined Michael Jordan as a freshman on a North Carolina team that was a Pre-season #1 and finished the season ranked #1 with a 28-3 record. Smith averaged 9.1 points and 5.0 assists per game, and the Tar Heels lost to the University of Indiana in the second round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament. He led North Carolina to the Elite Eight in 1985, losing to eventual National Champion Villanova Wildcats. Smith was named a Consensus All-American (1st Team) as senior in 1987, averaging 16.9 points, 6.1 assists per game while helping North Carolina to return to the Elite Eight. Playing in a game that featured eleven future NBA players, Smith led the Tar Heels with 25 points and 7 assists but they lost to Syracuse University, 79-75.
During his career at North Carolina, Smith averaged 12.9 points and 6.0 assists per game, while shooting .512 from the field, and .823 from the free throw line. In 1986–87, the first season the NCAA added three-point field goals, Smith shot .408. As of 2016, he ranks second in school history in total assists (768), fourth in total steals (195), and fifth in assists per game. Smith helped North Carolina to a record of 115-22 from the 1983–84 to 1986–87 seasons, including two Elite Eight appearances ('85 and '87) and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1986. They won the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season conference championships in 1984 and 1987, and tied for first in 1985. North Carolina never finished lower than 8th in the national polls during Smith's four years at the school.
Smith represented the United States in the 1986 FIBA World Championship, on a team that included players such as David Robinson, Muggsy Bogues and Steve Kerr. He was second on the team in scoring behind Charles Smith with 14.7 points per game. Smith scored 23 points to lead the USA to an 87-85 win and the Gold Medal over a Soviet Union team that featured Arvydas Sabonis.
Smith was selected as a 6'3" 170 lb point guard by the Sacramento Kings with the sixth pick of the 1987 NBA draft. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team (1st Team) after averaging 13.8 points and 7.1 assists per game for the Kings. Smith began his NBA career playing for Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who was head coach for Kings until he was fired 58 games into the '87-88 season. Smith was traded to the Atlanta Hawks midway through the 1989–90 season, where he was a reserve player for the first time in his career, averaging 7.7 points per game while only starting five of thirty-games he played for the Hawks.
After the 1989–90 season, Smith was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he would spend the next six seasons. In 1990–91 Smith averaged 17.7 points per game while leading the Rockets in assists per game (7.1) and free throw percentage (.844). He helped the Rockets to a 52-30 record, the best regular season in franchise history at the time. They were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Smith finished 17th in voting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, just ahead of teammate Hakeem Olajuwon.
Head Coach Don Chaney was fired after posting a record of only 26-26 in the 1991–92 season. He was replaced by former Rocket player Rudy Tomjanovich, who went 16-14 to close out the season, missing the playoffs by one game. The Rockets then went 55-27 in 1992–93, pushing the Phoenix Suns to seven games before losing to Seattle SuperSonics in the second round of the playoffs in seven games. Smith helped to force a game seven against Seattle by scoring 30 points, shooting 4-6 from three point range, in a Game 6 victory for Houston. The Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1993–94 and 1994–95. From the '92-93 to '94-95 seasons, Kenny Smith averaged 11.7 points and 4.5 assists per game, with a three-point percentage of .425. In 57 playoff games during the same period, Smith had nearly identical averages of 11.6 points and 4.3 assists, shooting .456 from three-point range. In the first game of the 1995 Finals against the Orlando Magic, Smith had 23 points, 9 assists and made seven three-pointers, including the game-tying shot which sent the game into overtime. The Rockets won the game 120–118, and went on to sweep the Magic in four games.
Kenny Smith had been gradually losing playing time to Sam Cassell, but he continued to be the Rockets' starting point guard through the 1995–96 season. Although Smith's points, assists, steals and minutes per game declined for the fifth straight season, he was still productive in '95-96. He averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 assists per game, and shot .382 from three-point range and .821 from the free throw line. The Rockets finished fifth in the NBA Western Conference with a 48-34 record, upsetting the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round before being swept in the second round by eventual Finals runner-up Seattle SuperSonics. In game four of the series against the Lakers, Smith had 17 points, 6 assists and was 4-4 from three point range to help the Rockets win the series clincher 102-94. The win against the Lakers also marked the final NBA game for Magic Johnson, who returned to the NBA that season after a five-year absence.
The Rockets released Smith after the '95-96 season, and he signed with the Detroit Pistons. He played only nine games with the Pistons before he was waived and signed by the Orlando Magic, who released Smith after only six games. Smith then signed with the Denver Nuggets, where he would remain for the rest of the season. Smith played sparingly for the playoff-bound Pistons and the Magic, but got the last meaningful playing time of his career with the Nuggets, a team that won only 21 games that season. Smith averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 assists while playing just under twenty minutes per game. Overall, Smith averaged 6.3 points and 2.4 assists per game, the lowest averages of his career, while his three-point percentage of .437 (59/135) was the second highest of his career, and the fourth season in which he shot better than 40 percent on three-pointers.
In his professional career, Smith scored 9,397 points (12.8 avg.), recorded 4,073 assists (5.5 avg) while shooting .480 from the field, .399 from three-point range, and .829 from the free throw line. He finished in the NBA top ten in three-point percentage three times ('92-93, '93-94, '94-95), and top ten in free throw percentage twice ('92-93 and '93-94). In the 1988–89 season Smith was fifth in the league in minutes played, seventh in minutes per game, and tenth in total assists. Smith's career three-point percentage of .399 still ranks 42nd in NBA history. Smith holds the Denver Nuggets franchise record for career three-point percentage (.425), and he continues to rank among the all-time leaders in several categories for the Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets.
Off the court
Smith joined Turner Sports in 1998, working as a studio analyst for end of the NBA regular season and the playoffs. Smith works with Ernie Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O'Neal on Inside the NBA, a winner of the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Studio Show. Smith covered basketball for the 2001 Goodwill Games, and he occasionally appears on NBA TV as an analyst. Smith provided commentary for the MSG Network's broadcasts of New York Knicks games from 2005–08, and works as an analyst for CBS/Turner during the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
Smith married Gwendolyn Osborne on September 8, 2006. They have 2 children: Malloy Adrian Smith (b. March 26, 2008), and London Olivia Smith(b. September 29, 2012). Osborne is a model on The Price Is Right. He has two children from a previous marriage to Dawn Reavis: R&B singer Kayla Brianna Smith and KJ Smith.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Smith won an NBA championship|
- "Kenny Smith." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved on January 28, 2010.
- "Famous Stanners: Kenny Smith, Class of 1983." www.molloyhs.org. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- Weber, Bruce. "Jack Curran, a Mentor in Two Sports, Dies at 82." New York Times, March 14, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- "Boys Alumni: Kenny Smith (1983)." www.mcdonaldsallamerican.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- Hunt, Donald. "Kenny Smith recognizes former Bartram High star Bobby Lewis." The Philadelphia Tribune, April 1, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "College Basketball: Kenny Smith." www.sports-reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "1983-84 UNC Tar Heels Roster and Stats." www.sports-reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "Syracuse vs North Carolina, March 21, 1987." www.sports-reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "Carolina Basketball: 2015-16 Fact & Records Book." www.goheels.com. 37-52. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- Jackson, Tim W. Gone Pro: North Carolina: Tar Heel Stars Who Became Pros. Covington, Kentucky: Clerisy, 2014. ISBN 1578605458. Google Books. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "1986 World Championship for Men. July 20, 1986.." www.fiba.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- Poindexter, Bill. "Sacramento Fans Have No Problem With Dumping Bill Russell." Los Angeles Times, December 24, 1989. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
- "1990-91 Houston Rockets Roster and Stats." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
- "Houston Rockets Franchise Index." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
- "1990-91 Awards Voting." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
- "Seattle SuperSonics at Houston Rockets Box Score, May 20, 1993." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
- "Smith Lifts Rockets Into Game 7 : NBA playoffs: Guard scores 30 points as Houston pulls away from Seattle in third quarter for a 103-90 victory." Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1993. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
- "The 60 Greatest Playoff Moments: Honorable Mention." www.nba.com. Retrieved on January 28, 2010.
- "Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic Box Score, June 7, 1995." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
- Howard, Johnette. "SAM I AM WITH TEAMMATES, FOES AND REFS, HOUSTON ROCKET POINT GUARD SAM CASSELL LIKES TO TALK THE TALK-- AND HE'S HAPPY TO BACK IT UP COME CRUNCH TIME." Sports Illustrated, November 13, 1995. SI Vault. Retrieved June 28, 0216.
- McGuire, Paul. "History in Hindsight: The Houston Rockets, The Seattle SuperSonics, and Hakeem Olajuwon’s greatest foe." www.red94.net, July 28, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Box Score, May 2, 1996." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- Hansford, Corey. "Throwback Thursday: Magic Johnson Makes A Comeback In 1996." www.lakersnation.com, December 12, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- "Denver Nuggets Career Leaders." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Sacramento Kings Career Leaders." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Houston Rockets Season Leaders." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Houston Rockets Career Leaders." www.basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Kenny Smith: Inside the NBA Analyst." www.nba.com. Retrieved on January 28, 2010.
- Cherner, Reid. "Chemistry, characters carry NBA show above pack." USA Today, April 8, 2007. Retrieved on January 29, 2010.
- 'Gwendolyn Osborne, a Barker beauty on the Price is Right, wed former NBA Star Kenny "the Jet" Smith.' www.prweb.com, September 8, 2006. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- Minnis, Glenn. "Daddy’s Little Girl: Kenny Smith and Daughter Kayla Brianna Look to Rock Music Industry." Vibe, February 7, 2012. Retrieved on March 5, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
- Kenny Smith on Twitter
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