On Wednesday before the NBA Playoff games began, the Turner Sports analysts “the Turner Family”, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley took some time on their Inside the NBA show to talk about the passing of Kenny Smith’s mother Annie Mae Smith.
Ernie said, “We know Kenny’s mom has not been feeling well in recent weeks and months and we learned today that she has passed away today at the age of 79, Annie Mae Smith. So Kenny in route to New York to be with is family; his dad William, his sisters Gwendolyn and Wanda and his brother Vince.”
Ernie said that he spoke to Kenny, “I asked him what he would want everybody to know about his mom. He paused and said he wanted to write a few things down and get back to me.”
Here is what Kenny wrote about his momma:
I love my mom because first and foremost she introduced religion and the power of prayer in my life.
There’s absolutely nothing that’s happened in my life—nothing—that we didn’t pray about. Growing up I’d talk to her every day. Sometimes short, sometimes long. I guess you could say I’m a momma’s boy. Lol
Her unconditional belief in me always gave me confidence. You wanna be class president? You can. Wanna make As in school? You should, you have all the tools. NBA? No problem.
She was at every event, every game, and every moment. More importantly, on her passing, she made me feel alive. Our talks made me excited and grateful and want to conquer and move forward. I will always keep that and promise to stay alive and give that to my wonderful wife and children, relatives and friends in her honor.
I hope when I’m around you or anyone from this point on, I make them feel the same way she made me feel every day: alive. Thank you, mom.
They said that Kenny was very close to his parents and that he did call himself a “momma’s boy.”
Barkley said, “I know Kenny was especially close to his mom and dad. He had great parents. Now she can rest in peace.”
Shaq touched on it too sending his condolences out to the Smith family and saying that he never had the pleasure of meeting her, but he enjoyed the stories Kenny had about her. He told his own story how his mom and Charles Barkley’s mom were best friends and he didn’t know it. Barkley lost his mom in 2015.
Kenny spent six seasons with the Houston Rockets, winning back-to-back championships in 1993-94 and 1994-95 and he’s been on the Inside the NBA since 1998.