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Jabari Smith's dad played in the NBA during the early 2000s

Joshua Rogers June 23, 2022
jabari smith father dad jabari smith sr
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

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The Auburn forward is one of the top prospects in the 2022 NBA draft and could be a dark horse to be picked No.1 overall. But did you know Jabari Smith’s dad played in the NBA during the early 2000s?

On Tuesday (17 May), the 38th annual NBA draft lottery took place to determine the picks for the upcoming draft. The Orlando Magic will be picking first overall in the 2022 NBA draft, and it’s a class filed with young talent.

While the likes of Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero have received the most buzz as potential No. 1 picks, Auburn power forward Jabari Smith Jr may prove to be the dark horse.

Ahead of the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday, 23 June, we take a look at Jabari Smith’s dad, who also played in the NBA.

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Jabari Smith’s dad played in the NBA for four seasons

Some NBA fans may recognise Jabari Smith’s dad, Jabari Smith Sr. The elder Smith played college basketball at Louisiana State University, before being selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2000 NBA draft.

Smith Sr was a 6ft 11in center and a supremely skilled shooter for his size, known for hitting jump shots from anywhere. During his NBA career, he played for the Kings, the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. Smith Sr played a total of 108 games and averaged 3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

His career didn’t quite pan out the way he hoped though, and the elder Jabari played overseas in Spain, Turkey, Iran, and Puerto Rico before retiring.

Photo credit should read ROY DABNER/AFP via Getty Images

Jabari Smith Sr instilled a strong work ethic in his son

In a feature for The Ringer, Jabari Smith Jr and his dad spoke about their work ethic and dedication which has led him to the brink of being in the NBA.

Smith’s father taught him the fundamentals of the game, and how to improve his skill set. Smith Sr would preach about the importance of becoming a student of the game, and that Jabari Jr understood all aspects of it so that he could continually improve and have a high basketball IQ.

Smith Sr wouldn’t go easy on his son either, often challenging him to shooting contests. “You can’t shoot! You can’t shoot!” he would reportedly tell his son. “I always wanted to see how he react [sic],” Smith Sr. said, adding that he wanted Jabari to have the right attitude, and to be able to look his coaches in the eye and take criticism on the chin.

His mother preached about staying grounded

Jabari Smith’s parents, his mother especially, would always do their best to keep him grounded. His mother would stress the important of staying in the moment and remaining present at all times. “We’ve seen so many athletes over time that get success and they lose their mind,” Smith Sr. added. “I gotta make sure my child stays the same and he keeps his feet on the ground.”

Jabari Smith Jr is now one of the top prospects in the 2022 draft class and has a good chance of being selected with one of the top three picks. Hard work really does pay off.

Who you think will selected No.1 overall? Will it be Jabari Smith, or someone else? Let us know in the comments who you think the Magic will select!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.