Rockets legend Kenny Smith to speak at TSU spring 2022 Commencement

By: Media 

Texas Southern University announces the speaker for its Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony will be NBA on TNT analyst Houston Rockets great Kenny Smith.

“Texas Southern University is pleased that Kenny Smith will be on our campus to deliver an inspirational keynote address for commencement,” said President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young. “He has excelled on the screen as an analyst for TNT, on the court as an NBA Championship-winning point guard, and in the classroom at the University of North Carolina. He demonstrates his commitment to the advancement of HBCUs and TSU every time he uses his platform, increasing the exposure of HBCUs and elevating the profile of our institutions to his audience.  Just as he’s been outstanding, the students he will address are outstanding in their disciplinary fields. It is our pleasure to welcome him to our esteemed campus.”

Smith, known as “The Jet,” won back-to-back NBA World Championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. He played nine seasons in the NBA for the Rockets, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, and Atlanta Hawks. Smith is the Rockets’ all-time leader in three-point field goal percentage. Prior to his successful career in the NBA, he played college basketball at the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1987 with a degree in Industrial Relations (Economics).

“To have a speaker of Mr. Smith’s caliber who excelled academically, succeeded in his career, and thrives in a second career while remaining committed to the Houston community is an excellent opportunity for our graduates,” said Dr. Lillian B. Poats, acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are excited about the encouragement, motivation and enthusiasm he will provide our graduates as they move from college to career.”

For 21 years, Smith has served as an analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA. In 2021, he received the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his dedication and contributions to civil and human rights, the social justice movement, and for laying the foundation for future leaders through their careers in sports.

“I’m excited to be the commencement speaker at Texas Southern University this year,” said Smith. “Hopefully I will provide some insight to our future world leaders to help them navigate through their journeys.  As an Historically Black University, Texas Southern University has always been at the forefront of positive change, and I hope to influence that change in the graduates.”

Spring commencement takes place on Saturday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., in the Health & Physical Education Building. The 8:30 a.m. ceremony includes graduates of the Jesse H. Jones School of Business, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts & Behavioral Sciences, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony includes the School of Communications, College of Education, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

For more information about TSU’s Spring 2022 Commencement, visit