Joe Smith: NBA, Wife & Net Worth

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Joe Smith is an American former professional basketball player who played as a power forward in the NBA for around sixteen years for 12 different teams. He now serves as a coach with the private coaching service, CoachUp.

Smith was the College Player of the Year at Maryland in 1995 and was the no. 1 pick of the 1995 NFL draft.

Joe started his NBA career with the Golden State Warriors. Later, he played with other teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers, to name a few.

Joe Smith in the Golden State Warriors jersey (Source: CNBC)
Joe Smith in the Golden State Warriors jersey (Source: CNBC)

The player from Virginia mainly played as a center, and he was one of the most successful basketball athletes that came out of the Maryland Terrapins.

Joe had an impressive collegiate career and was named the AP NCAA All-America Team.

We will look into his life and career in more detail, so stick with us till the end of the article. But before proceeding further, here are some quick facts about Joe Smith.

Quick Facts

Full Name Joseph Leynard Smith
Known As Joe Smith
Date of Birth July 26, 1975
Birth Place Norfolk, Virginia, the USA
Nick Names Joe Beast, Boring Joe, Joe Blow
Religion Christianity
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Zodiac Sign  Leo
Age 48 Years Old
Height 6’10″/2.08 m/208 cm
Weight 102 kg/225 lb.
Eye Color Dark brown
Build Athletic
Father’s Name Joe McFarland
Mother’s Name Letha Smith
Siblings Six
  • Matthew Fontaine Maury High School (Norfolk, Virginia)
  • University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
Marital Status Married
Sexual Orientation Straight
Wife’s name Kisha Chavis
Kids Three
Current Profession Coach
Former Profession Basketball player
NBA Draft 1995 / Round: 1 / 1st pick overall
Position Power Forward
League  National Basketball Association (NBA)
Active Years (1995 – 2011)
Currently Plays For None / Retired
Social Media  InstagramTwitter
Merch Jersey
Last Update March 2024

Early Life, Family & Education

Joseph Leynard Smith, famously known as Joe Smith, was born on July 26, 1975, in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, to his parents, Joe McFarland and Letha Smith.

Since his mother was not married to his father, he took her surname. Besides him and his mother, Joe had six other siblings in his family.

He was the youngest among them. However, they were Letha’s children from her previous marriage.

The 1993-94 Maryland Squad
The 1993-94 Maryland Squad (Source: Instagram)

His mother initially worked as a maid to raise her children. But after she obtained her diploma, Letha got a job as a medical clerk at Norfolk Naval Hospital.

As she had completed her education quite late in her life, she wanted all her kids to at least graduate high school. Joe respected his mother’s suggestions and did pretty well in his studies.

He grew up along with his siblings in a well-disciplined household with a fixed routine.

Apart from studies, Joe had also developed a love for sports since childhood. He was much taller than his other siblings, so he enjoyed playing basketball mostly.

He had already decided to play basketball for North Carolina Tar Heels when he was still in school.

Unfortunately, he could not join the University of North Carolina at Tar Heels as they did not accept him, citing his “underdeveloped” game and physique.

Consequently, after graduating high school, he enrolled at the University of Maryland in 1993.

Basketball Career

College Career

Joe Smith played college basketball for the Maryland Terrapins for two seasons. He already had some experience playing basketball as a power forward at Maury High School.

Although he felt a bit low initially after being rejected by the Tar Heels, his experience with the Terrapins was pretty good as he found them supportive from the beginning. 

The terrapins coach, Gary Williams, loved him for his passion for the game and his dedication to improving his performance consistently. He believed that Smith was the guy who never felt he reached his pinnacle, so he always kept practicing.

As a result, Joe’s performance in his sophomore season was equally promising. He played 34 matches in the season and finished with an average of 20.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Professional Career

Although everyone was pretty sure that Joe would be one of the top picks in the draft, they had not thought in their wildest dreams that he would be the first pick.

Joe had an excellent start scoring his highest single-game point (30) of his rookie season and showed that he would live up to his expectations. 

Joe Smith With The Atlanta Hawks
Joe Smith With The Atlanta Hawks (Source: Bleacher Report)

After playing two excellent seasons with the Warriors, Smith was expected to have a stable NBA career, but unfortunately, his club traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1997-98 midseason.

He played only a half-season with the 76ers, after which they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1999.

His first season with the Timberwolves went quite well, as he averaged 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds. But, although he played more matches in the next season, his performance declined.

The club released him in 2000, after which he played for the Detroit Pistons for a year before returning to the Timberwolves. He then had a three-year association with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he had a relatively better performance.

After the Bucks released him, Joe was constantly transferred from one team to another until he signed with the LA Lakers in 2011. 

His only good season in the latter part of his NBA was with the Chicago Bulls in the 2007-08 season, in which he averaged 11.2 points per game. 

Coaching Career

After his retirement, he was with the Phoenix Suns helping out the Ukrainian center Alex Len during the 2015 pre-draft.

However, the Suns did not hire Smith, so he started his academy named Fun-D-Mental Basketball Training in 2014.

He currently runs a Joe Smith Basketball Academy for Boys and Girls. In addition, he is associated with a private coaching service named CoachUp.

Awards & Achievements

Some of his awards and achievements include:

  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (1996)
  • AP Player of The Year (1995)
  • Naismith Player of The Year (1995)
  • UPI College Player of The Year (1995)
  • ACC Player of The Year (1995)
  • Adolph Rupp Trophy (1995)
  • Consensus first-team All-American (1995)
  • ACC Rookie of The Year (1994)
  • First-team All-ACC (1994, 1995)

Net Worth & Career Earnings

It sounds weird, but the top pick of the 1995 NBA draft, Joe Smith, leaves paycheck to paycheck, despite having accumulated more than $60 million from his professional basketball career.

When he started playing professional basketball in 1995, the Golden State Warriors paid him $2.4 million for his rookie season, and he made another $6 million by playing nearly two more seasons with the Warriors until 1998.

Smith could have made $86 million if he had signed with another team, but he signed an illegal deal with the Timberwolves in 1999. He earned around $4.7 million playing two seasons for them.

He had initially signed the contract for a low amount after the Timberwolves assured him they would sign him with a heavy sum later. But, he was not provided with any such deals as promised, and consequently, the NBA fined the Timberwolves for their action.

In his later years, Joe’s salary rates frequently fluctuated, but he never received an amount lower than $1 million.

Moreover, he earned additional money through brand endorsements and merch sales.

Joe was known for his extravagant nature, and now that he is broke, he lives a very modest life.

Smith now thinks that the reason behind his misfortune was that he had too much attachment to material possessions, which ultimately brought him back to where he was in the past.

As per the CNBC report in 2018, Joe had around $160k in debt.


Joe Smith is currently married to Kisha Chavis. The circumstance in which they met each other is unknown, but as per the reports, after dating for a few years, the couple got engaged in 2016.

The lovers later married each other on St. Croix beach in 2018. Their close friends attended their marriage ceremony, which was televised on a reality tv show called ‘Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.’

Joe Smith With His Wife, Kisha
Joe Smith With His Wife, Kisha (Source: Playerswiki)

Although Joe found his love at a low point in his life when he had gone completely broke. Fortunately, Kisha accepted him as he was, and they are content with what they have now.

As per the rumors, Chavis was previously in a relationship with another man before she dated Joe. Similarly, this is not the first marriage of Joe Smith.

He was married to Yolanda Smith in the early 2000s. However, their relationship ended in 2011 after Yolanda filed for a divorce when she discovered that Smith was cheating on her with another woman named Deanne Marie.

Smith continued providing financial assistance to his wife to raise his child after their separation. He initially paid around 10k per month, but the court reduced it to $968 after becoming financially weak.

He has a son named Amir Smith, who plays professional basketball in Europe, from his relationship with Rashe Bowie, and a daughter named Mahogany Lester from his relationship with another woman named Erica Lester.

Similarly, he was in a brief relationship with an American model, Moniece Slaughter, in 2012.

Age & External features

Joe Smith was born in 1975, which makes him 48 years old as of 2024.

Smith has always had a lean body since childhood, and although he gained some weight during his NBA career, he seemed a bit lean.

Speaking of his physical stats, he weighs around 102 kg (225 pounds) and stands 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 meters) tall. He has some tattoos on his arms.

Some Interesting Facts About Joe Smith

  • Joe Smith is a talented rapper, and he released a music album titled Joe Beast around 2009.
  • He was featured as a professional basketball player, Connie Hawkins, in an American movie named “Rebound.”

Social Media

The Maryland boy is quite active on social media. The former NBA player is available on Instagram under the handle @joesmithbasketball and Twitter @JoeBeast95.

His Instagram feed is filled with pictures of him during his professional career and him with his friends.

Instagram: 5,582 followers

Twitter: 19.7k followers


Joe, being a no. 1 pick in the 1995 NBA draft and playing in the NBA for 16 long years, has gained a lot of fans from all around the world.

Joe Smith's Popularity Graph
Joe Smith’s Popularity Graph (Source: Google Trends)

The above graph gives brief information about the popularity of Joe Smith based on Google searches in the United States over a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the wingspan of Joe Smith?

Joe Smith has a wingspan of around 7 feet (2.13 meters).

What jersey numbers did Joe wear during his playing career?

Joe wore jersey numbers 1, 9, 8, 7, and 32 during his overall playing career.

Yaman Bhattarai
Yaman Bhattarai

Yaman Bhattarai

Yaman Bhattarai is a dedicated writer with a keen interest in exploring the multifaceted world of sports. His articles offer readers a dynamic blend of insightful analysis, captivating storytelling, and cultural commentary that enriches their understanding of the athletes, events, and trends that shape the sporting landscape.


History Retrospectives Sports Technology


  • Yaman delves into the rich tapestry of sports history, uncovering iconic moments, legendary athletes, and transformative events.
  • He examines the business side of sports, exploring topics such as sponsorship deals.


With a background in writing and a passion for sports as a cultural phenomenon, Yaman approaches each article with a blend of curiosity, rigor, and creativity. He seeks to inspire, educate, and entertain readers through his exploration of the timeless themes and enduring legacies that define the world of sports.

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