Originally written on Next Impulse Sports  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Greg Smith Making Friends You know what they say about guys with big hands? Greg Smith, the starting power forward for the Houston Rockets, might answer something like this: they work hard, stay focused, and keep things in perspective. It would be truthful answer for Smith, whose hands measure an incredible 12 inches wide. He has risen from the ranks of the D-League to a starting job on the Houston Rockets. (Just for perspective, the next longest hand width at the 2011 combine with was the Kawhi Leonard with 11.3 inches.) The 6′ 10″, 250 lbs Smith logged many hours away from home and on the road to get to Houston. Smith had a short, but successful career at Fresno State University. In 2010, he was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and averaged 11.7 points and 8.1 rebounds during his sophomore campaign. Smith declared for the 2011 NBA Draft, but ended up not getting picked. He made the unusual move of signing with the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, the top professional basketball association in Mexico. (Other notable alumni of the LNBP include Jamario Moon and Dennis Rodman.) While playing south of the border  he learned a few important lessons that have helped him during his current stint in the NBA. Smith said the experience was difficult, but allowed him to see the bigger picture in life and his career. He was on his own, away from his family, and playing against grown men in their late 30’s. The twenty year-old Smith quickly learned to keep his head down and work his tail off to try  get to the NBA. Smith said that it was hard to get the attention of NBA teams after going undrafted. Even so, he kept up a demanding routine of playing time and conditioning. He eventually got noticed by the Rockets and signed a contract in February of 2012, He bounced around between the Rockets and Grand Valley Rapids (the Rockets D-League team) for the past year, but ended up playing 70 games in Rockets uniform this season.He credits part of his success to the bonds he made with current Rockets players during his back and forth stints. Gaining the trust of teammates and getting the attention of his coaches for his work ethic was pivotal to his success. Greg’s ‘Family First’ Tattoo Is Not Small Even though he has a starting job, Smith’s work ethic has not diminished.  His typical day involves a couple hours of conditioning, followed by the gym for some shooting. Then he gets treatments, and THEN he works out for a hour, lifts some weights, watches game film, and settles in for a good night’s sleep.  The only thing that takes precedent over basketball, he said, is family. Greg is a father to three year-old Gianna and Gregory Jr., who was born this past January.  It’s immediately apparent that family is the number one priority in Greg’s life, and rightly so.  Smith described his children as ‘a blessing’ and joked about how their personalities couldn’t be more different.  Gianna has her father’s personality, a jokester with non-stop energy who gives Greg very few breaks from playtime. Gregory Jr. is content to just sit quietly and rarely cries.  Smith can’t help but wonder about ‘what’s going on in his head?’ Smith admitted that playing in the NBA is tough on his family life. He makes it work by using Skype and calling his kids numerous times a day.  Smith said his family keeps him motivated professionally.  “Gianna loves to watch me play basketball,” he said.  Greg’s kids have been in attendance for each of the Rockets playoff games so far. Teammate Chandler Parsons mentioned that Greg is one of the most down-to-earth and kind folks you will meet.  Smith cited his uncle and older cousin with instilling his life philosophy, “Take life seriously and respect everyone.  Always be nice.  Make everyone laugh, make sure everyone feels your positive energy,” he said.   Seems like a pretty solid set of guidelines to live by. Faith has become a “huge part” of Smith’s life. He started attending Church while at Fresno State, and has been a regular attendee ever since.  When he started to make faith a central focus in his life, he noticed that things have progressively improved.  Just like he was able to see the bigger picture of making it in the NBA to care for his family when he was in Mexico, faith now plays a similar ‘bigger picture’ role. What are Smiths’ career goals?  One of them is to work out with former Rockets Center, Hakeem Olajuwon, who has given other NBA players tips, including LeBron James, on playing in the low post. Smith is a FIFA fanatic and loves to play it while on the road. He’s also a big rap fan.  “E40 is basically an uncle to me,” he said. “We too real to be phony, why should we fake it?” goes a line from the E-40 song, Thick & Thin. Smith, who has logged his share of minutes in the gym and miles on the road, and is now in the NBA playoffs, doesn’t need to fake anything.   Article found on: Next Impulse Sports
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

Eric Berry sends out Thanksgiving message

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks about Eminem referencing her

WATCH: Dwayne Harris dirty hit on Nolan Carroll sparks fight

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.