Steven Delano Smith was born in Highland Park, Michigan, on March 31, 1969. His parents are Donald and the late Clara Bell Smith. Steve’s siblings include his brother Dennis and late sister Janice. Steve and his wife, Millie, have two sons, Brayden and Davis.
Steve attended Pershing High School in Detroit and then Michigan State University from 1987-1991, where he became a First Team All American basketball player, and the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer, with 2,263 points. At that time, he ranked 5th all-time in Big Ten history, and was also First Team All-Big Ten in his senior season.
In 1991, Steve was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Miami Heat. He also has played with the Atlanta Hawks (1994-1999), the Portland Trail Blazers (1999-2001), the San Antonio Spurs (2001-2003), the New Orleans Hornets (2003-2004), and the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat during the 2004-2005 season.
Steve was also a member of the gold medal winning Dream Team II during the 1994 FIBA Word Championships in Toronto. In 2000, Steve was honored by being chosen to represent his country by playing for the gold medal winning U.S. Olympic Basketball team in Sydney, Australia.
On September 30, 2005, Steve returned to MSU to announce his retirement from the NBA after 14 seasons. In 2009, Steve earned the Dick Enberg award, which recognized him for his commitment to promoting the values of education and academics to student-athletes. On February 18, 2013, Steve was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
He still remains involved with basketball, however, as a game and studio analyst for NBA TV and the Big Ten Network.
Throughout his career Steve has carried with him a strong commitment to his community, which was handed down to him through his mother and father. His father a hard working Detroit city bus driver for 37 years instilled in him hard work and the importance of giving back. Steve has always been an active member in his “community” by working with and for inner city youth organizations in Michigan, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Charlotte.
In January 1997, Steve, who believes you can never give too much, donated $2.5 million to Michigan State University. This donation helped construct the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, in honor of his late mother, Clara Bell Smith, who died of cancer during Steve’s rookie NBA season. This is the largest single donation ever made by a professional athlete to an alma mater. The building was formally dedicated on September 12, 1998, and it remains a state-of-the-art-facility in this country. Steve expressed the tremendous influence his mother has always had on him by stating:
“I have had great coaches, but none greater than my mother. I have had great role models, but none greater than my mom. I have had great teammates and fans, but none greater than Clara Bell Smith.”
At Steve’s insistence, a portion of this generous donation also funds The Steve Smith/Pershing High/MSU Scholarship for Academic Achievement. In 2001, Steve donated an additional $600,000 to fully endow the scholarship. This scholarship provides, on an annual basis, high-achieving students from Detroit Pershing High School the opportunity to attend Michigan State University. In honor of Steve’s generous gift to Pershing High School, Pershing paid tribute to the basketball star by holding “Steve Smith Day” in September 2001, where they renamed the school’s gym after the 1987 graduate.
The Steve Smith Charitable Fund is supported by additional money raised from Steve’s annual events. Approximately $1,000,000 has been raised to help support the Steve Smith Charitable Fund, Michigan State University, and local charities in the following Michigan cities: Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, as well as in Atlanta, Georgia.
Steve’s generosity has been recognized not only by the various charities, organizations, and institutions he donates to, but by the NBA as well. During the 1997-1998 NBA season, Steve received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, and was later awarded the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship Award in 2002. His goodwill and compassion for others placed Steve in an elite group of athletes when he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2006. Steve also earned the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award in 2015 as a recipient of the Mannie Jackson — Basketball Human Spirit Award. Steve is currently a member of the Nsoro Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of foster children; and serves on the Hughes Spaulding – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Community Board, which is the largest clinical care provider for children in the country.
Follow Steve Smith on Twitter and Instagram at: @steve21smith.