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Kenny "The Jet" Smith, NBA on TNT Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
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May 9, 2023 7:48 pm

Kenny "The Jet" Smith, NBA on TNT Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 9, 2023 7:48 pm

Kenny Smith joined Zach to discuss if the Lakers are championship contenders and if the Heat can win the East.

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Offer valid for a limited time, $10 minimum per order, additional terms apply. When we continue, it is the Zach Gelb Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. I do have the book in my hand right now. It was released today, Talk of Champions, Stories of the People Who Made Me, a memoir by Kenny the Jet Smith, and he's kind enough to join us right now. Kenny, first off, congratulations on the book. Appreciate the time. How you been? Man, appreciate you having me. Been doing well.

You know, we're deep in the playoffs, so we're up late and up early. And now you have a book out, so it's unbelievable stuff. I was reading a few chapters, and really something that stood out to me was the chapter on Michael Jordan. We all know your relationship with Michael Jordan back to your days at UNC, but I thought it was fascinating when you look back at your draft. You went one pick after Scottie Pippen, who obviously went to the Bulls, and you said I was jealous of Scottie Pippen all throughout our playing days, and even today I'm still jealous of Scottie. I know you're very close to Michael, but why is that jealousy still there after the special career and broadcasting career that you've had? Oh, man, I tell you, you know, and it's a jealousy in a fun way in the sense that, you know, I know what Michael could do for you as an individual, because, you know, sometimes knowing what you don't have as a person or as a player is better than knowing what you can do. And I understand that having someone who is that driven, that motivationally driven next to you is what I always needed. I love guys like that, and I know I would have been a better player if I'm next to that.

So I was always jealous. I'm like, Scottie's going to get something. He doesn't, when he was like his rookie and sophomore year and freshman year, I mean, second year in the league, I was like, he doesn't know what he's getting at playing with Michael.

He's just going to get better and better and better and better. And I was always jealous of that because at those times I was playing in Sacramento where, you know, we weren't sniffing the playoffs. So, you know, I didn't sniff the playoffs until like my fourth year, fifth year in the league. So I was always jealous that Scottie was getting all that mentorship and that missing ingredient that I knew was out of my cake. You've accomplished so much. Six overall pick out of UNC, two championships in the NBA. You've been an integral part of the greatest studio show that I've ever seen in sports. When you look back at it with all that you live so far, what are you most proud about?

I think, you know, what I'm most proud about, you know, my whole career is my parents and what they instilled in me. The ability to listen, you know, that's what the book is about is like, it's kind of initiates is where when you're able to listen, you're able to have empathy, even though sometimes you're not having sympathy, you're able to understand why people might think that way, even though it's far from your belief. And that kind of dictated as a player, why does this guy play that way?

Because business, why did they negotiate that deal and culturally? Why do they feel that, you know, I don't have the same affinity maybe for, you know, law enforcement that someone else might have? Why? And I think that when you listen, you have the ability and that's what I think I'm most proud of and I try to pass on to everyone else.

The name of the memoir, talk of champions, stories of the people who made me, Kenny the Jet Smith is my guest. I was watching you guys late last night as you do each and every night of the NBA postseason, Golden State now down 3-1 to the Lakers. I couldn't believe how sloppy, especially a team of that championship caliber, Golden State is how they were down the stretch last night in Los Angeles. Yeah, I think, you know, when you look at Golden State from that perspective, you know, at times they're too little because we forget that LeBron James is 6'10, Anthony Davis is 7'3, but they play a fast game at times. So he's like, oh, we're playing, you're like the Lakers are playing small ball.

No, they're not. They're not playing small ball. They still have Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the floor. They're not playing slow. I mean, small. And with the Lakers, their ability to have that flexibility to play against them, I think is huge in this series because now, you know, without Looney playing the major minutes, without Kuminga being able to be able to, you know, be put in and inserted, there's no Weissman that they will, you know, who they traded. They at times only play small.

They don't mix it up. Like in the years past when they had their champions in years, at times they had big lineups and then they would go small. But now they just play small.

And it's also kind of crazy how much a difference a year makes. Last year, Jordan Poole was considered a third splash brother. We know the contract that he got and last night only played 10 minutes and couldn't even find the way to get on the stat sheet in the score column.

How do they get Jordan Poole right? I know it's a little too late for this postseason, but moving on into the future with that contract he signed? Well, maybe not too little too late, because one of the things that they have is two out of the next three games are in in San Francisco.

So to close out, they have to they have to win in San Francisco. But I just think that Jordan Poole has to find Jordan Poole. You know, the ability to be a shot maker and shot taker is something that he had he had become where, you know, last year this time if I was on your show you you were probably been asking me should the should the Golden State Warriors trade Klay Thompson? You know, it was getting to that point where people were thinking that he could replace Klay. And so here we are now a year later.

It's really an internal thought that he has to bring out himself. Where's your trust level in this Lakers team winning a championship this year? I mean, we have two series left and this one's not over. I think because it's LeBron James, if the name wasn't James on the Lakers, would we say if we were just looking at a great player named Jones playing the way he's playing? I don't know if we'd say that this team is a championship team yet. I, you know, I would still say Denver, Phoenix, but because the name James on it, so I don't look at the names.

I look at the performance. I don't think that they've proven that they're the best team in the league yet. And but they are playing better than Golden State, which doesn't acumen the best team in the playoffs or championship run yet. Denver took the first two Suns bounce back. They got the next two. How do you think the rest of this series plays out?

Because I do agree with you. I do believe the winner of Suns and Nuggets will end up going to the finals this year. Well, you know, the most complete team in basketball to me is Denver, though. You know, they have great point guards and Jamal Murray, obviously an MVP candidate. They have potential all stars in Gordon and Porter. They have a bench with green and all of these guys that come in. They're the most complete team.

The most explosive team, obviously, is the Phoenix Suns. They have two guys that can get you 101 points between the two of them. They can get to 100 points between two guys.

That is an astronomical number. So that in itself makes them dangerous. But it doesn't make them because if one of those guys are slightly off, they don't have the margin of error that other teams have, I don't think at all. Well, we've seen how open it's been so far in the postseason.

Kenny, the Jetsmith here with us for a few more moments. I've been disappointed with Boston. I still think they'll get to the finals, but I'm waiting to see that killer instinct in them.

And I just haven't seen it yet in the postseason. Well, you know, I think killer comes from experience. It comes from it's a build up like, you know, when you're around one, sometimes you like, man, are we that good? You got even no matter who you are, round two. And it's just a build up after each round. And then all of a sudden you become who you are. The longer things go, I think the more united you become, even if you take series longer, I think you become united. And then all of a sudden, if you win or lose in a game seven, you're like, you're excited.

Wrap it up with Kenny, the Jetsmith. You know how it is in New York. It's so up and down, just depending on what the team does. A lot of people now critical of Julius Randle, especially after last night, when asked about the Heat out hustling the Knicks, he said, maybe they just want it more. Do you think Julius Randle is salvageable for the longterm in New York, or maybe they have to look to move on from him this off season?

Oh, no. I mean, I think Julius, you know, is a really good player. You know, the Knicks, I think are the expectation of New Yorkers is sometime unrealistic, kind of like, like Lakers fans. Like if they don't win the championship, I remember when they had, you know, there was, there was no shack, there was no Kobe and they were like, and magic had, you know, wasn't there. And they're like, why aren't we winning elder Campbell and Nick Van Exel were your best two players. You're not going to be John Stockton and calm alone.

I'm sorry. Like sometimes the expectations aren't realistic, but they're adding the right pieces because no one thought that Jaylen Brunson would, you know, would be this good. They thought he could be good, but this good, you know, so they're, they're maturing into what I think they need to be. And, but the, you know, New York just doesn't have patience, you know, to build it. They want it. They want to extend. They want a microwave.

They never want to bake the cake. But I also heard Mike Greenberg and Jaylen Rose in the last few days, they're using weather as an excuse as to why the Knicks haven't shown up in Miami. Do you just laugh at that when you hear that?

Or is there something to that? I have no idea what they're talking about weather. Cause we're all in the same weather. I think the Miami heat and the same weather. And you play indoors too.

I have no idea what that means. I actually, I like playing better in, in, in, in warmer weather. You come to the gym, you just feel better. You know what I mean? It's kind of like, if you go for a workout, you're like, you just feel better. You get, get loose.

I have no idea. I'm not even going to elaborate on something I don't even know about. Do you feel like the winner of Sixers and Celtics will go on to the finals or you're not dismissing Miami assuming Miami takes care of business to get one more done up against the Knicks? Oh, no, you're not.

You're not. I'm just referencing the Miami heat now because they have a rhythm of play that forces you to play a certain way against them. So you don't have the luxury of always saying we're going to play fast today, or we're going to play slow today, but you do have to know you're going to play the way Miami plays.

You're going to have to grind it out. You're going to have to be physical and you're going to have to be physical on both ends of the court, which a lot of teams aren't able to impose their style of play on another team, which Jimmy Butler and Eric Spoelstra have done a great job of like, you could beat us, but you're going to have to beat us this way. Last thing I'll ask you, Kenny, the Jetsmith, once again, the name of the memoir, talk of champion stories of the people who made me.

We're on right now in four stations in the state of Wisconsin. A lot of people reacting to the Bucks firing Mike Bootenholz are people trying to figure out who's going to be next. The other day, I threw out the name Ty Lue. I know he's under contract with the Clippers, but could you maybe see Ty Lue trying to get out of that unfortunate situation in Los Angeles with all the injuries and make it his way to Milwaukee?

Okay. I love the way you painted the picture. The way you painted that picture, you'd be like, yeah, Ty Lue's coming. You said the unfortunate situation, but you have to think that God lives in Los Angeles.

He probably lives on a beach. He still has arguably the two best players in the world. But they're never healthy.

But that just aren't healthy. However, the way you painted the picture, I'd be like, if I was Ty Lue, if I was, I'd be like, I'm coming to Milwaukee. But how are you going to get out to contract? Why would you get out to contract? And is it a guarantee that they want him? Like, there's no guarantee. I'm at a place that wants me.

I just got to, I got to make sure that my training staff has the newest equipment to make sure my guys are healthy and I might still be playing today. But do you think, so you don't think it's at all realistic? And because I look at Ty Lue, I just feel like he's frustrated because that's going to be the most maddening thing when you have two stars and you still coach your ass off, but unfortunately just can't be healthy when it's go time. So you're the guy who has, you have the, the, the girlfriend that just doesn't like a couple of things that you see and you go, I bet that girl over there is happy. Even though she's with that guy, let me go check and see. That's, that's, that's what it sounds like.

That's what it sounds like. Like, yeah, you can take the chance of going over there and see if the girl's unhappy, but she's got a ring on her finger, bro. Like, like let her, let her take the ring off. He does. He's got a ring on his finger and he, it looks, it looks like it's working other than the fact that the guys aren't healthy. Like that is it. If that's your only reason for not winning, what if Giannis gets hurt next year? It's a fair point, but I would roll the dice and take my chance with Milwaukee over Los Angeles right now. I like I said, judging, by the way you put it, I would too.

I was like, man, he should leave. You convinced me. Well, congratulations on the book. Once again, talk to champion stories of the people who made me Kenny, the jet Smith, always good to catch up with you. Thank you.

Go to Amazon books or whatever it is. It's on all platforms. Thanks so much. You hope you feel better. You got it. We'll do it again soon. Yep.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-09 20:32:26 / 2023-05-09 20:39:10 / 7

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