‣ Nets star Dorian Finney-Smith was granted a one-day leave to meet his father, Elbert Smith, who was released from prison after nearly 29 years.
‣ Elbert Smith, a Navy veteran, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1995 and sentenced to 44 years in prison. He is now living at the Finney-Smith home in Virginia.
‣ Finney-Smith expressed gratitude towards his team for supporting his wish to reconnect with his father. He returned to the team after spending time with his dad in Virginia.
Dorian Finney-Smith has been reunited with his father after almost 30 years in prison, per @townbrad. 💙
Finney-Smith’s former team, the Mavericks helped secure his father’s release and was granted parole in July.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops)
Dorian Finney-Smith, the Nets star, is set for a memorable Christmas. He’s been given a once-in-a-lifetime gift. He was allowed a day off to visit Virginia and reunite with his dad, Elbert Smith. His father had just been released from prison after a long 28 years, 9 months, and 10 days.
Before the Wednesday game between Brooklyn and New York, Finney-Smith spoke to the press. He shared the whirlwind of emotions he was experiencing at that moment.
“The last 48 hours have been a rollercoaster,” he admitted. He described the anticipation of waiting for a specific time for his father’s release, which was never given. The excitement was palpable, though. His father was finally going to watch a game in the comfort of home, without having to share the TV.
Elbert Smith, a Navy veteran honorably discharged, had a troubled past. He was arrested for cocaine distribution before his incarceration. Then, on January 25, 1995, things took a drastic turn.
Smith was involved in a fatal incident. He was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury and sentenced to 44 years in prison. Today, he resides in the Virginia home Finney-Smith bought for his mother and ex-wife years ago.
The player’s reunion with his father was emotional. “I had to touch his arms, shoulders, just to get a feel for him,” he said. He hadn’t remembered ever touching his father before. The hug they shared lasted longer than he had anticipated.
Finney-Smith kept in touch with his father during his sentence. However, it wasn’t until his junior year of high school, when he had his first child, that their bond strengthened. “When I had a baby I started talking to him a lot more,” he recalled. He desired the close-knit relationship his partner had with her father and grandfather for his own children.
The veteran forward is immensely grateful to his team for supporting his wish to reconnect with his father. After spending time with his dad in Virginia, Finney-Smith returned to his team Tuesday night. The 30-year-old, who spent almost seven years with the Mavericks, had nothing but praise for Brooklyn’s organization.
“I’m just happy to be in this situation where I get to play the game I love,” he said. He appreciated the relationships he had built, which helped him in his personal situation.
His coach, Jacque Vaughn, also spoke about the franchise’s commitment to keeping their players happy and motivated. The organization was fully supportive of Finney-Smith’s trip to reunite with his father. “You never know what guys are dealing with when they’re playing on the floor,” the coach said.
Vaughn referred to the reunion as the “ultimate Christmas gift.” He emphasized the importance of family and appreciating the simple, uncomplicated things in life, particularly during the holiday season.