Born in Queens, New York City, Mr. Kenny “The Jet” Smith is a long-time member of TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show. Smith is an analyst, alongside Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson, host Inside the NBA, which has won four (4) Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Studio Show – Daily.
Smith is a two-time Emmy nominee for Best Analyst. In addition to his role on Inside the NBA, Smith also makes regular appearances on NBA TV and serves as analyst for Turner Sports’ and CBS Sports’ combined coverage of the NCAA March Madness Division I Men’s Basketball Championship since 2011. Smith is also the founder of the Jet Academy, the virtual live basketball camp for children of all ages.
In 2021, Mr. Smith received the 16th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his dedication and significant contributions to civil and human rights, the social justice movement, and for laying the foundation for future leaders through their careers in sports.
Smith graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1987 with a degree in Industrial Relations. In the same year, Smith was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the NBA draft as the sixth overall pick.
In 2000, Smith was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2022, Smith was inducted into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.
Smith won NBA championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. He played nine seasons in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings (1987-90), Atlanta Hawks (1990), Houston Rockets (1990-96), Detroit Pistons (1996), Orlando Magic (1996-97) and Denver Nuggets (1997).
Smith is among Houston’s all-time leaders in three-point field goal percentage at .407, along with having the best field goal percentage of NBA guards in 1992-93. Smith scored a career-high 41 points against the Los Angeles Lakers while playing with Houston on December 26, 1993. After averaging 13.8 points and 7.1 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings, Smith was named a member of the NBA All-Rookie team in 1988. Smith ranks second in University of North Carolina school history with 768 assists, including 86 assists in NCAA tournament play.
It is Texas Southern University’s distinct pleasure to have a living basketball legend as our guest speaker.