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Former NBA Player Addresses Drug Court Grads

Oct 10, 2013
(Cleveland) – The 44th Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays took place Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Jury Assembly Room, located on the fourth floor of the Justice Center.

Contact:  Ed "Flash" Ferenc, Public Information Officer
              Cleveland Municipal Court                   
              216-664-6787   216-857-7420
              ference@cmcoh.org

(Cleveland) – The 44th Graduation Ceremony of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court under the direction of Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Anita Laster Mays took place Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Jury Assembly Room, located on the fourth floor of the Justice Center.

A total of 11 people graduated, which brings the total number of people who successfully completed the program to 1,352 since it began 15 years ago.  Of that number, almost 80% remain sober and drug-free.

The keynote speaker was retired basketball player Clinton Smith.  Playing forward, Smith went to college at Cleveland State University where he helped lead the 1985–86 team to the Sweet Sixteen. He was drafted in the 5th round by the Golden State Warriors in the 1986 NBA Draft. He played two seasons for the Golden State Warriors and later with the Washington Bullets and the Canadian Basketball Association.

In the 90’s Smith moved to Las Vegas, and that’s where his troubles began.

“My addiction was gambling.  I did it all, cards, craps, poker.  I was hooked to the point I lost almost $6000 playing blackjack one night.  In the end, I gambled my retirement savings away,” said Smith, who eventually got into trouble with the law for passing bad checks.

With a strong family unit behind him and his deep faith, Smith was able to overcome his addiction and today he’s training young men and women to become future basketball stars. 

“I pray every day and tell God how much I need him.  My message to the graduates is whatever you want to overcome in life, you can do it.  You have to dig down to your spirit and find your inner strength.  Believe me, it works.”

The Drug Court Program is a sanction-based year-long program that emphasizes treatment and accountability.  Should a participant fail a drug test, or is otherwise non-compliant, a sanction is imposed.  The Greater Cleveland Drug Court was created in l998 under the direction of the Honorable Larry A. Jones and taken over in 2009 by Judge Mays.

 

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