Former Rockets guard Kenny Smith: “I’ve been black all my life”

Houston Rockets James Harden, Kenny Smith (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Stance )
Houston Rockets James Harden, Kenny Smith (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Stance ) /

Former Houston Rockets point guard Kenny Smith explained his decision to walk off the Inside the NBA set, amid the civil unrest in America.

The recent shooting of Jacob Blake sent shockwaves throughout the NBA, as Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha Police. The incident was captured on video, which has become par for the course for such incidents, and the unjustified shooting prompted an NBA boycott, leaving Game 5 for the Houston Rockets in limbo.

Current and former players spoke out on the civil unrest that’s plagued America of late, as Houston Rockets legend Robert Horry offered an emotional statement, explaining how incidents such as the Jacob Blake and George Floyd acts of police brutality cause him to worry about his own children.

TNT analyst Chris Webber gave an emotional speech regarding the need for change on the race front in America, and LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers delivered a passionate speech, questioning why America doesn’t treat African-Americans equally.

Former Houston Rockets guard Kenny Smith, who now works as an analyst. walked off the TNT set, in order to stand with the players in their boycott. On Friday, Smith explained his decision to walk out, during an interview with NBA TV.

Rockets’ Smith explains decision to walk off set

“First I’m a black man, and second I’m a former player. I just wanted to stand and really march with them that day. I had to talk the talk and I had to walk the walk. I’m always mentoring alot of players in the league. But not only players, I get calls from executives, and owners. So I had to walk the walk. For me it was reiterating the beliefs I already have and the beliefs that I stand by.”

Smith said that everyone supported his decision to leave the set and stand by the players, while also explaining that the players’ decision to boycott the games was a success, although many have questioned the move.

“All of a sudden you get everyone asking what do you want. In the African-American community, how many times in our lifetime do we get chances where people say what do you actually want?”

Smith compared the players’ march to winning a championship, which is something he’s qualified to speak on, as he won two championships with the Houston Rockets.

“It was like winning a championship. Alot of times we all get fooled by watching the games and saying that there’s organizations and there’s people behind the scenes that make things happen. In actuality, the power is the players on the floor. Now it allows everyone to understand the value that you hold. Don’t take it lightly, don’t abuse it. But understand that you have that power.”

The players agreed to resume play, so long as the following conditions are met:

  • Forming of a social justice coalition
  • Conversion of team arenas into voting locations for 2020 election
  • Creation of advertising spots in playoff games promoting civic engagement in local and national elections

Smith said that he’ll be back on set on Saturday, as the players’ march has ended, so he’ll return to action alongside them. Smith certainly deserves praise for supporting the players, and his message during his walk-out and Friday’s interview was powerful, to say the least.

Next. Rockets' Lucas helped save NBA postseason

Kudos to the former Houston Rockets guard for taking a stand, and staying true to his word.