The 90-year-old grandfather of VCU Coach Shaka Smart has died, according to a The Richmond Times Dispatch.
Walter King, Smart’s maternal grandfather and a father figure for him, had been in declining health with failing kidneys in Chicago, “trying to enjoy his last days,” Smart said last week.
“He's probably the one guy who spoiled me a little bit,” Smart recently told the Times Dispatch. “My mom [a teacher] really didn't have much growing up. My grandfather used to take me to Cubs games. ... He used to take me to all the nice restaurants in Chicago, a couple of Bulls games. He taught me a lot of the lessons that I still remember today, things about manners, how to treat people, humility, appreciation.”
He also was Smart’s biggest fan.
“He has always, ever since I was in college, cut out every single article in The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times that had anything to do with basketball and mailed it to me, wherever I lived,” Smart told the New York Times. “And I’m going to miss those clippings.”