Kenny Smith talks Chapel Hill, Dean Smith

From: Triangle Business Journal

By: Eric Spanberg

Apr 14, 2015

Kenny Smith is best known among basketball fans for his role as an analyst on Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA. Smith banters, bickers and talks basketball with host Ernie Johnson and fellow analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

Before he became a familiar TV presence — adding a family reality series to his résumé this spring— Smith played basketball. When Smith reached the NBA in 1987, LeBron James was just a toddler in Akron, Ohio.

On Monday, Smith came to Charlotte to make an appearance at the Hornets-Rockets game (his best days in the NBA were with Houston) and to promote inner-city basketball courts. He also spent some time with me and other reporters to discuss basketball and other topics.

The former UNC Chapel Hill star, who played for the late Dean Smith (no relation) and graduated in 1987, told me the recent crushing academic scandals at his alma mater among football and men’s basketball players are exceptions to the norm. So-called paper classes, many requiring little or no classroom time, and a culture of lax standards regarding athletes have embarrassed the university and led to expensive investigations, resignations and financial settlements with whistleblowers.

“I think that for me, as a UNC graduate, I value my education — I think everyone who’s gone to that university values education,” he said. “There are people who will take shortcuts and if you decide to take a shortcut, it usually backfires, so I’m proud to say I’m not a shortcut taker. And I’m sure there are (thousands of) alums that, in my senior year, freshman through senior year, are happy to say the same thing.”
Kenny Smith is best known among basketball fans for his role as an analyst on Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA. Smith banters, bickers and talks basketball with host Ernie Johnson and fellow analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

Before he became a familiar TV presence — adding a family reality series to his résumé this spring— Smith played basketball. When Smith reached the NBA in 1987, LeBron James was just a toddler in Akron, Ohio.

On Monday, Smith came to Charlotte to make an appearance at the Hornets-Rockets game (his best days in the NBA were with Houston) and to promote inner-city basketball courts. He also spent some time with me and other reporters to discuss basketball and other topics.

The former UNC Chapel Hill star, who played for the late Dean Smith (no relation) and graduated in 1987, told me the recent crushing academic scandals at his alma mater among football and men’s basketball players are exceptions to the norm. So-called paper classes, many requiring little or no classroom time, and a culture of lax standards regarding athletes have embarrassed the university and led to expensive investigations, resignations and financial settlements with whistleblowers.

“I think that for me, as a UNC graduate, I value my education — I think everyone who’s gone to that university values education,” he said. “There are people who will take shortcuts and if you decide to take a shortcut, it usually backfires, so I’m proud to say I’m not a shortcut taker. And I’m sure there are (thousands of) alums that, in my senior year, freshman through senior year, are happy to say the same thing.”