Nolan Smith Named a Point of Light


Nolan Smith was named a George H.W. Bush Points of Light Inspiration honoree in recognition of his activism and community outreach efforts during the recent social justice movement.

Smith, who is Duke men's basketball director of operations and player development, was named to the Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll, which “celebrate(s) both acts of kindness and service that demonstrate the light that individuals bring to their communities around the world.”

A total of 90 people were named to the honor roll,

"This is such an incredible honor for Nolan, and absolutely well deserved," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He is a beautiful human being. We are so lucky to have him here at Duke and in the city of Durham. Nolan's amazing work in our community goes well beyond the last few months. He has spent his life using his platform to selflessly serve others, to promote positive racial and social change and advocate for those that are less fortunate. His nickname is “The People's Champ” and there is no better way to describe him."

The Points of Light website says of Smith, “Former Duke All-American basketball player and current director of basketball operations, Nolan Smith has taken on a very active role in his community during the recent social justice movement. Nolan has ensured that protests and other demonstrations held ad Durham have remained peaceful and ensured there were no fights or outbreaks of violence. So much so that he was asked by the mayor of Durham to serve as a community leader. Nolan is also an active member of “The Brotherhood” alumni group. The group is made up of 100 former and current Duke basketball players and focuses on voting initiatives, equality and teaching others about systemic racism. Nolan never misses an opportunity to educate those around him about the importance of the current movement given his experiences as a black man. Since the pandemic started he partnered with a local supermarket to provide food to those most affected by the pandemic. Nolan never says no when asked to participate and connect with others in his community and lend a helping hand. He is affectionately known as “the People’s champ.”

Smith and his fellow honorees will be recognized at the Points of Light Awards Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. EST. The awards ceremony, which can be viewed this year via a live stream experience, will honor extraordinary individuals who demonstrate the traits of the 41st president – integrity, empathy, respect, optimism, conviction in the face of opposition and belief in the power of the human spirit.