Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Dallas. Dallas won 130-111. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade) (Brandon Wade/AP)
Dorian Finney-Smith remembers watching his mother work tirelessly to take care of her family.
Desiree Finney-Henderson was a single mother raising six children.
Times were tough, but she made it work. As tough as it was, she can’t imagine what it would be like today if she was in the same situation during this coronavirus pandemic.
“If this was going on 10 years ago, I would be crazy,” she said. “If this was going on when I had them, I’d be scrambling. I mean, scrambling. I’d be trying to ride around to all of these churches trying to get food to feed them.”
Knowing this sparked her son to give back. Finney-Smith, a Dallas Mavericks forward, made a charitable contribution to the Portsmouth Food Service Program to feed 200 families, specifically children who normally receive meals from school services.
“Growing up and seeing my mom, I know how it feels,” Finney-Smith said. “We got lunch free going to school. Sometimes, you had to rely on that. I know some kids don’t get it and we wanted to help them. Everybody isn’t blessed, so sometimes you got to be a blessing.”
Finney-Smith, who turned 27 this week, holds a basketball camp each summer as a way to give back to his beloved hometown.
“We’re going to miss it this year, so we had to do something for the city,” said Finney-Smith, who with his mother and older brother, Ben, runs the Finney Family First Foundation Inc., whose mission is to inspire youth to become productive members of society by providing service to the community. “I have love for the city that raised me.”
Finney-Smith said the coronavirus has been tough on everyone. Right now, he’s been working out of his garage as he awaits a possible return to the NBA season.
“I’m trying to stay busy, trying to keep a schedule,” said Finney-Smith, who started a team-high 61 games and was averaging 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds before the stoppage. “It just happened so fast. It’s crazy.”
Mark Palamarchuck, director of parks, recreation and leisure services for the City of Portsmouth, said Finney-Smith’s donation will help the city provide nutrition services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is why we were so thankful when we were approached by Dorian’s very generous offer of a donation to assist us with these efforts,” Palamarchuck said in a press release. “That means 800 to 1,000 people are not going to have to worry about where their next meal comes from for a few days. It means a lot to those families, and it means a lot to us.”
Finney-Smith said it’s important to give back. He doesn’t do it for recognition. He just wants to help.
“I’m just trying to be an inspiration,” he said. “It’s bigger than me. I just want all the kids and whoever has been around me to know that we care. “