Kenny Smith has had a long and illustratious career in the world of basketball. Since the 1980s, he has worked not only as a professional basketball player, but also as a sports commentator.
Today, Smith is one of the best-known sports commentators in the world. In this article, we will dive into who Kenny Smith is, how he made his money, and what his current net worth is.
Smith began his basketball career in 1987 after a successful college basketball stint with the University of North Carolina. After graduating, he began playing with the Sacramento Kings. He continued to play professional basketball until 1997 in a decade-long career that resulted in many accolades.
In 1998, he switched his career from the court to the broadcasting studio and became a sports analyst. Over the more than 20 years since then, Smith has become one of the best-known sports analysts in basketball. In fact, his broadcasting career has made him more famous than his time as a player, putting him alongside basketball greats such as Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.
In addition to his careers as a basketball player and analyst, Smith has also made several forays into the world of acting. He has credits in the film The Hustle as well as television shows such as American Dad, Grown, The Odd Couple, and Laura’s Mysteries. However, he is probably best known for his voice contributions to the NBA 2K video games.
Smith’s success can be measured in more than just his existence in the world of professional sports. There is a reason he’s considered a household name, after all.
In 1983, he was named a McDonald’s All-American because of his natural talent for the game. At the time, he was only 18 years old. During his time as a professional basketball player, Smith became widely known first for his representation of the United States at the 1986 FIBA World Championship. He was still in college at the time but already considered one of the most promising college players of the time.
By the time he graduated college, Smith was the sixth pick of the NBA draft, joining the Sacramento Kings as a point guard.
In the early 1990s, Smith was traded to the Houston Rockets. By this time, he had already earned the equivalent of $10 million (adjusted for inflation). His time on the team was a wildly successful one. Houston won NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. Smith was traded to the Detroit Pistons in the mid-1990s. His time with the Houston Rockets made the best team in the NBA during the decade.
As a broadcaster, he has also received many accolades. His show Inside The NBA, which Smith hosts alongside Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ernie Johnson Jr., won an Emmy award for Outstanding Studio Show. Smith also regularly joins other shows and networks to add his analysis, including CBS/Turner, the MSG Network, and NBA TV. In 2019, The New York Times wrote that his broadcasting career has turned him into a sports star in a way that his career as a professional player never did.
Kenny Smith’s Net Worth
With two amazingly successful career paths under his belt, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Kenny Smith is a wealthy man. Public sources put his current net worth as of 2023 at roughly $22 million.
During his time as a professional basketball player, Smith’s salary varied as he moved from team to team. During the six seasons he played with the Houston Rockets — his longest time with a single team — he earned between $700 thousand and $2.7 million a year. By the time he left the team, he had a net worth of more than $10 million.
During his professional basketball career, Smith’s net worth climbed to a total of $13.2 million.
As a sports analyst and commentator, he earns a salary of $4 million a year. However, his current net worth has risen to an astounding $22 million (though sources vary, putting it between 20 and 23 million).
Additional Sources of Income
It isn’t widely known how much he has earned from his acting credits. However, Smith has extensively contributed his vocal talents to the NBA video game series for Xbox, Windows, GameCube, and PlayStation 4. In his video game, television, and film credits, he has most often played himself — a testament to his own status as a household name, even in fictional worlds.
While many celebrities pursue a variety of business ventures, Smith has largely stayed within the media since leaving his career as a basketball player. Some sources point to him opening a Pro Image franchise in Houston in the mid-1990s, but this apparently wasn’t successful and information on the subject is now limited.
He has also been involved as a producer of television series and documentaries about the NBA and the world of basketball. As of 2013, there was chatter about Smith potentially becoming the next general manager of the Sacramento Kings; however, the plan never came to fruition.
Though he hasn’t started his own tequila line or opened a casino, it is clear that Smith’s career in both basketball and broadcasting has made him an extremely wealthy man. However, in all his ventures, he has kept his focus on basketball, showing that the root of his work is the love of the game.
What is in The Future For Kenny Smith?
In 2022, Smith signed a contract extension with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports to continue his work on Inside The NBA. It is clear that Smith intends to stay active in the world of basketball for the foreseeable future.
He continues to pursue acting and producer credits, largely in sports-centered documentaries about his own time as a professional basketball player (and more widely, topics more generally about the world of basketball).
Though he has become more widely known as an NBA analyst and commentator, there is no denying that Smith has been wildly successful both as a basketball player and a professional sports analyst.
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Written by Allen Lee
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