SMITHBHM1

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Soldier and base basketball player Clive Smith lines positions himself for a rebound before a foul shot Friday versus Fort Bliss in the 2019 Capitol Classic at the Fort Myer Fitness Center.

Editor’s note: In commemoration of Black History Month, The Pentagram is featuring a series about Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Soldiers and who influenced their careers in the arts or subjects of expertise.

Spc. Clive Smith is an aide to the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall command group team during business hours, but when not at his desk in Bldg. 59, he sees to business on the basketball court.

Smith is a member of the JBM-HH men’s basketball team and his history on the hardwood is an abbreviated history. The 28-year-old did not start playing organized basketball until his senior year at South Miami Senior High School in Florida.

“I didn’t start playing basketball until I was 18,” Smith said. “I didn’t touch a basketball until I was 18. I played football. I was a defensive end. I found out that I was more athletic in basketball.”

Smith called South Miami Senior High School a basketball hot bed, but the school has produced famous athletes, entertainers, and politicians. Football Hall-of-Famer Derrick Thomas, rapper Pitbull, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio are famous alumni of the school. Since football was his initial specialty, he rattled off a handful of players, including Thomas, who he loved to watch.

“I definitely followed Michael Vick and Miami Dolphins Zach Thomas, Derrick Thomas and LT (New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor),” said Smith, who also was a big University of Miami football follower.

Smith successfully tried out for the Division II Florida Memorial University basketball team in Miami Gardens, Florida. His high school basketball coach, Robert Doctor, recognized Smith’s athleticism and talent, gave Smith an opportunity and arranged for the chance to play in college.

“I wasn’t even planning on going to college,” said Smith, who picked up basketball knowledge by playing in pick-up games and watching basketball on television. “My basketball coach called me one day. My coach asked me if he could get me into a school would I go, and I said ‘yes’.”

As for his basketball influences, Smith watches and admires players he knows he can emulate.

“You know, most people watch Lebron James,” Smith said. “I can’t do the things he does, so I watch people like Tim Duncan, Amar’e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard. He’s my favorite. Howard was ‘Superman’.”

Smith talked about basketball history and noted winning National Basketball Association team championships leaves a legacy in basketball lore.

“Everyone says (Chicago Bull) Michael Jordan is the best, and they always say that because he has six rings,” Smith said. “But look at (Boston Celtics) Bill Russell. Is he really the best? He has 11 rings. If rings make you the best, it could be Bill Russell. I love Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), too and that hook shot. I love old school moves. I still go out to the park and watch the guys do old school moves.”

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at jdresbach@dcmilitary.com.