Dad of Brooklyn Nets star Finney-Smith gets to see him play for the first time after prison release

Stephen Nartey April 09, 2024
Dorian Finney-Smith. Photo: NBA

For Brooklyn Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith, Game 78 held special significance beyond just another match. It marked a deeply meaningful moment as his father, Elbert Smith, attended his game against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center on Saturday night.

It was the very first time the 52-year-old had the opportunity to witness his son play in person, as reported by Daily Mail.

“It’s exciting,” the Nets forward said prior to tipoff. “It’s exciting knowing it’s (going to) be his first time ever seeing me play in person. But definitely want to get his win for him, so just try and focus on getting the win.”

In 1996, Elbert Smith was convicted on charges including second-degree murder, malicious wounding, and firearm use in the death of Willie Anderson II, resulting in a 44-year prison sentence. Reports from The Dallas Morning News indicate that during Finney-Smith’s tenure with the Mavericks, the team contributed efforts towards securing Elbert Smith’s release.

In July 2023, the Virginia Parole Board unanimously voted for Elbert Smith’s release, and he was subsequently released from prison in December of the same year.

Elbert Smith had been behind bars for 28 years, nine months, and 10 days. Finney-Smith mentioned that the family had to wait until Elbert Smith was permitted to travel.

Elbert Smith, along with Finney-Smith’s mother, Desiree, arrived in New York on Friday to attend the game.

“He’s been having the window down, looking at all the buildings,” Finney-Smith said. “You know, comparing it to when he came here in 1994. He remembers Brooklyn back in the day. 

“He keeps saying Barclays wasn’t here and stuff like that, so he obviously knew New York history.”

Despite being eliminated from postseason contention earlier in the week, the Brooklyn Nets acknowledged the personal significance of the game for Finney-Smith, who was acquired from the Mavericks last year in exchange for Kyrie Irving.

“Yeah, we talked but not to the extent of what it’s going to mean and all that,” interim coach Kevin Ollie said. “I know it’s going to be significant for him, and he’s going to handle it like a pro. He’s going to compartmentalize it and go out there and do his job, but I imagine he’ll have some special joy inside for his dad to watch him finally play.”

“So hopefully, he’ll go out there and do his thing, I know he will. He’s the ultimate pro when it comes to things like this, so I don’t expect anything different from him. Hopefully, we can get him a win tonight.”

Finney-Smith started the game and logged 24 minutes of play, contributing two points on a 1-5 shooting performance.

He also secured seven rebounds and dished out an assist in the Brooklyn Nets’ 113-103 victory against the Detroit Pistons.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 9, 2024


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