Brooklyn Nets’ Dorian Finney-Smith Reunites With Dad Who Spent Nearly 30 Years in Prison: ‘Best Christmas Gift I've Ever Gotten’

"He's here for Christmas; that's what matters," Finney-Smith said.

Image via Getty/Alex Goodlett

Christmas came early for Brooklyn Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith.

Finney-Smith's father Elbert Smith, 52, was released from the Greensville Correctional Center in Virginia on Tuesday after 28 years, nine months, and 10 days behind bars, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The Nets granted the 30-year-old Finney-Smith a one-day absence from the team, so he could be there with his mother Desiree and sister Monnazjea when his father left the facility.

"We just hugged," Finney-Smith said of the long-awaited moment. "A long, long hug. So many questions and stuff that we have. It was very emotional."

After nearly 30 years, Dorian Finney-Smith reunites with father: the ‘best Christmas gift’

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"I had never felt his physique," Finney-Smith said. "I had to size him up real quick. He's a big dude. He's wide. We smiled and laughed, my sister and my mom hugged him as well. There wasn't much for me to say. We all just laughed about the fact that it was so unbelievable."

According to Bleacher Report, Smith and Diefen McGann were carrying a handgun when they tried to collect a debt from Willie Anderson II in 1995. A scuffle ensued and Anderson attempted to retrieve McGann's gun. Smith lunged at Anderson with a knife, causing him to relinquish the weapon.

McGann fired three shots, killing Anderson. Both were charged with first-degree murder, but McGann accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received five years in prison. Smith was advised by his lawyer to not strike a plea since he was not the one who fatally shot Anderson.

Smith's case went to trial, where he was convicted of second-degree murder and malicious wounding, and sentenced to 44 years in prison.

The Virginia Parole Board voted in favor of granting conditional freedom to Smith in July with the help of Finney-Smith's former team, the Dallas Mavericks. Team governor Mark Cuban, general manager Nico Harrison, and others within the organization provided "written testimonials" in support of Finney-Smith's character during Smith's hearing.

When Finney-Smith attended the hearing, he was joined by Harrison and Mark Cuban Companies chief of staff Jason Lutin, who convinced former Virginia attorney general Jerry Kilgore to work pro bono on helping them with preparation. "Thank you to the Mavs family for this. This is past basketball," Finney-Smith said of the Mavericks organization following his father's release. "You can't even try to put into words what they did in this situation."

Finney-Smith added, "He's here for Christmas; that's what matters. This is the best Christmas gift I've ever gotten. Besides the births of my kids, this is up there with the best days I've ever had."

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