Hello, Detroit--By Sammy Davis Jr.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Steve Smith: Common Name, Uncommon Superstar

Steven Delano Smith was born in Highland Park, Michigan, on March 31, 1969. His parents are Donald and the late Clara Bell Smith, and his siblings are his brother Dennis and late sister Janice. Steve and his wife Millie have two sons, Brayden and Davis.

Steve attended my high school alma John J. Pershing High School--Home of the Doughboys and School of Winners from 1983-1987 in Detroit and 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.

Steve first entered the NBA as the Miami Heat’s First Round selection (5th player selected overall) in the 1991 NBA Draft, and since then has played with the Atlanta Hawks (1994-1999), the Portland Trail Blazers (1999-2001), and the San Antonio Spurs, where he earned a championship ring in 2003. Steve was also a member of the New Orleans Hornets (2003-2004), and competed with the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat during the 2004-2005 season.

In 1994, Steve was chosen to represent the United States as a member of the gold medal winning ‘Dream Team II’ in the World Championships held in Toronto, and in 2000, Steve’s basketball ability was further recognized when he was chosen to represent the United States as a member of the gold medal winning United States Olympic Basketball Team in the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney, Australia.

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 1997, Steve, who believes you can never give too much, donated $2.5 million dollars 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 remains 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. 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 $600,000.00 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 Scholarship Fund is supported by additional money raised from Steve’s three annual charity golf outings. Together with the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan, the MSU Alumni Club of West Michigan, and the MSU Detroit Area Development Council, approximately $500,000 has been raised to help support the Steve Smith Scholarship Fund, MSU, and local charities in the Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids areas.

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 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 into an elite group of athletes when he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2006.

Steve served as a member of both the National Alumni Board and National Development Board of Michigan State University. In addition, Steve was a member of the National Board of Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a non-profit organization which was created to eradicate illiteracy in our nation's urban public schools.

On September 30, 2005, Steve returned to MSU to announce his retirement from the NBA after 14 seasons. He still remains involved with the NBA, however, as a TV color analyst for Fox Sports.

If anything else need be known about Steve, his character and/or his values, it can be easily found from his own words which he delivered at the January 1997 announcement of his donation to Michigan State University. His words, in part, were as follows:

“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.” --Steve Smith

Sources: http://www.sssfund.com/about_steve/ and http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5316/is_200610/ai_n21399148

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Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) By Marvin Gaye

Dah, dah, dah, dah
dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it you take it

Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain't livin', This ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes

Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands

Crime is increasingTrigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God knows where we're heading
Oh, make me wanna holler
They don't understand

Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Mother, motherEverybody thinks we're wrong
Who are they to judge us
Simply cause we wear our hair long

Detroit's Downtown

Don't Look Back Detroit, Keep on Pushing

Detroit as the Temptations hae said, we have to keep on pushing and not look back. We have to leave all our troubles behind us and look forward to a brighter future for not only the citizens of Detroit but the city of Detroit. We have to keep on walking Detroit and keep on pushing forward as we leave our past behind. Stall Tall Detroit and look for a future of Greatness as we as Detroiters strive and survive together.