An Interview with Lanny Smith


Interviews — By David Acosta on July 12, 2010 at 5:16 am

Now this is one cool cat. Lanny Smith is as humble as they come and has ‘future NBA Star’ written all over him. Hailing down from the University of Houston, Lanny has been on the brink of NBA stardom ever since departing from the Cougars but unfortunately has been sidetracked by injury and rehab. But don’t think for one second that Smith isn’t turning his lemons into lemonade, no sir, this man is productive. got to talk with Lanny about all things basketball and he did NOT disappoint. Hear what he has to say about topics including his overall game, God, David Stern, Game 7 of The Finals and diva superstars.


1.) With your foot all healed up, is it safe to say that now it’s not a matter of health, talent or ability but of simply having the right opportunity to showcase what you can do out there on the court?

Right now I’m actually in the final stages of rehabbing my knee. Unfortunately after being the last cut from the Sacramento Kings in preseason I suffered torn cartilage from a collision in my 4th game of the Dleague season. It was misdiagnosed so I ended up playing on it for almost 2 months before finally finding out that it was torn and needed season ending surgery. Due to that I missed out on a possible call up opportunity with the Kings as well as the chance to play summer league. Now my days consist of rehab, strength and conditioning, and drill work on the basketball court. Its tedious and I was very disappointed but I got too close to my dream to stop and give up now. I feel like I’m right on the cusp of realizing that dream. I work extremely hard and im very strong in my faith so i believe it will all work out for me. It may not be the route i envisioned but if God has something for me then it will be there for me regardless of the path. There are so many guys in my situation who have NBA talent and or skills and it just comes down to having the right opportunity to showcase that. There are roughly around 430 players in the NBA. Many times it’s not a question of skill or talent but it becomes strictly a numbers game. Guys in my position have to have that undeniable belief in ourselves and our abilities so that when that rare opportunity comes, we will be able to take advantage of it. I’m looking forward to getting back on the court soon and being ready when that opportunity comes my way again. I actually started a video blog chronicling this journey to get back called Hoop Dreams that can be found on my facebook page or on my YouTube.

2.) If a scout were to ask you, straight up,  “Which player’s game in the NBA, closest resembles yours?” who would you answer and why?

Honestly, I personally can’t think of a player that I can look at and say my game resembles. My playing style is different from any of the players that I grew up admiring. I don’t think I patterned my game after any one player in particular. As a student of the game I know I try to take bits and pieces from every player that I like and incorporate that into my game somehow. My college coach at The University of Houston, Tom Penders, used to tell me I reminded him of a young Gary Payton. At the time he said that I could see the similarities in the style somewhat, but obviously not his talent level or skill. I was flattered and humbled to have that comparison from my coach. I am a pure point guard in the sense that I’ve always looked to pass first and set up teammates before looking to my own offense. Something about breaking the defense down and creating for others or seeing plays develop before they happen excites me.

3.) When you’re stepping on the court, what can fans expect to get, see and experience by watching Lanny Smith?

One thing fans, coaches, and teammates can ALWAYS expect to get from Lanny Smith on the court is intensity. I have always played the game with emotion and a chip on my shoulder and I think that is evident in my game, especially on the defensive end. I’ve always taken pride in my defense and being someone who could disrupt the other team’s offense or shut down an opposing player. I had a great high school coach who instilled the importance of defense and playing with intensity at all times and that has stayed with me. I also feel like I bring a lot of heart to the game. Sometimes that energy and passion can be seen as me being a little fiery but I think that’s a good thing. Offensively I’ve always had a great handle and vision. So fans would definitely see some shaky moves and maybe a few no look passes. Nothing to be fancy, but I definitely use my eyes to lead the defense away from my intended target a lot. I also take pride in being unselfish. I’ve been told sometimes I’m unselfish to a fault so I’m working on that. But anytime you get a PG that enjoys making plays for others and being unselfish, guys enjoy playing with him. I’ve experienced having guys enjoy playing with me on every level because of that fact. I can score when I need to, but I’d rather have double digit assists than 20 points any day.

4.) You’ve played and hung out with Big Shot Bob a.k.a “Robert Horry”. What’s the man like and what were you able to take from that experience?

I met Robert Horry last summer on the inaugural NBA Asia tour. As a native houstonian who grew up a huge Rockets fan, it was an honor and privilege to meet him. He was a key part of the Rockets’ back to back championships and people in Houston have always loved Robert Horry. He was actually very down to earth and silly so that was cool to see that side of him off the court. One thing I was very impressed with was his humility. He mentioned that everybody asks him about his rings and how he has won wherever he went. His response was that he was blessed to play with dominant big men (Olajuwan, Oneal, Duncan) who always drew so much attention that he was able to get the looks he got and without them he wouldn’t have the rings or the opportunity to hit those big shots. That was great to see him acknowledge those great players and give them credit. So often in today’s society and in sports, we are infatuated with celebrating ourselves and what we have done. To see an athlete of his caliber be so humble and defer to his teammates was a beautiful thing. One thing I’ll always take away from my experience playing with him was something he said after one of our games in Korea. He said he didn’t realize the amount of talent that was in the Dleague and told me I had NBA talent and game. He told me to keep working hard and keep believing because all I needed was the right opportunity with the right team. To hear him say that he knew I could play on that level gave me so much more confidence and I’ll always remember that.

5.) Would you be able to say that playing for the D-League is beneficial in the fact that it gives you time to actually see the NBA from an angle that most don’t get to see. For instance, would you say that you’ve been able to observer financial and social mistakes made by rookies in the NBA simply because they weren’t prepared or quite ready to deal with certain situations?

Playing in the Dleague is definitely beneficial because it gives players the opportunity to play in NBA systems with NBA rules and have exposure to every team in the NBA. Some players’ situations are different than others but having that direct affiliation to the NBA and essentially being a minor league/ farm system to the NBA is great and you know that you are one call away from realizing a dream. As far as observing mistakes made by NBA players, we are privileged to the same player development groups and classes provided to the NBA players that help educate about handling finances and the other off court issues that being a professional player brings. I think some of those pitfalls can be seen across any pro league and is more a situation of the individual’s maturity level and the support group he has around him. I don’t think people on the outside understand all of the pressures and situations that come with being a professional athlete and the evils that exist because of the huge amounts of money and the status acquired. I’m glad the NBA and the Dleague have those programs in place to help that transition as well as provide support for those that need it

6.) What’s going on through your mind when you know you’ve got scouts and reps studying your game and watching you play?

I think it can be nerve wrecking if you let it be. But at the end of the day is a dream that I have worked my whole life for so i know that is a part of getting there. Though it is on a higher level and more intense, we have all been dealing with scrutiny on our games since we were young. Most of us were the best where we were from so the aau teams would scout your games. Playing AAU, and traveling across the country playing against the best in the country since we were in middle school, trying to get ranked etc. I was invited to the abcd all American camp twice in high school and you have every major college coach in attendance scouting you while you play for a scholarship. All of those situations growing up in the game have led up to this so it’s really nothing new. In my mind I know ive put in the work and done everything I can, so once I leave it all in the court I cant do anything else. You play hard and play to win and in the process hope that those scouts like what they see. We have a saying that goes, there are 30 teams in the NBA, but you only have to get one of them to like you.

7.) If Perkins was in game 7, not injured, do the Celtics take the title? One word, yes or no?


8.) Do you think it’s reckless for an owner/organization to allow their superstar/franchise player to have MORE than just an opinion in BIG decisions regarding the team? For example, decisions on the hiring of coaches and the trading of players?

As a player I don’t know all of the intricacies of these business decisions. I think the owners are well educated in business, obviously invested in these teams, and are looking to put their team in the best possible situation. I think it’s only natural for them to at least hear out the feelings of their franchise players but ultimately the decision rests on them and that’s what they get paid the big big bucks to do.

9.) What do you know about David Stern and what would you ask him, if the both of you were say…..stuck in an elevator?

Off top David Stern is the one man that every basketball player dreams of shaking his hand and having him call your name. I was born in 84 which happened to be his first year as commissioner and the same year Jordan was drafted. (Great year huh). I know that he has expanded the league by 7 teams in his tenure and was greatly responsible for the growth of the NBA into the global entity that it is. Under his watch the WNBA and NBA Development League were added under the NBA umbrella so it’s safe to say he has been important to the expansion of the NBA brand. From what I know he is passionate about the game and is a shrewd business man so I would definitely love to shadow him and pick up some things. With my own interest and love for the game of basketball and business, I’d ask him how he got started and what have been the keys to his success. I’d ask him if I could intern for him and possibly have a position in the NBA office when my playing days are done. And I’d definitely ask him if I could record him shaking my hand while I put on a team hat. Lol

10.) What’s on the horizon for Lanny Smith, what can we expect in the near future?

For one you can expect to see me back on the court soon pursuing my dream and hopefully, God willing, soon after in a uniform with Jerry West on the shoulder and Smith on the back. Other than that I am in the process of launching my own business. It is a Christian Athletic Apparel company called Active Faith Sports. You can check it out by searching Active Faith Sports on facebook, following @Active_Faith on Twitter or visiting the website, The site is currently under construction but you can view some sample galleries as well as subscribe to get instant updates on the launch and when new products will be available. This isn’t just a business venture to me but something I’m very passionate about as it combines my strength faith and my love for sports. In a time where athletes of all levels and sports are more open about proclaiming their love for Christ, I believe the Active Faith brand is coming about at the right time. I have been in communication with athletes in the NBA, NFL, and MLB about  representing the brand and we are definitely hoping to hear from or contact all athletes who are interested. I’m looking forward to launching Active Faith Sports within the next month and a half so it’s coming soon.

This journey of mine has definitely had it’s rough moments and people have wondered if I should give up. I have something burning inside me that won’t allow me to do that. At the end of the day I will have a powerful testimony. One thing that I have learned along the way is that the success isn’t necessarily a destination, and that for guys like me, the reward is in the Journey.

Follow me on:

twitter: @Lboogie_23

Facebook: Lanny Smith

YouTube: boogie2303

David Acosta

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