Charles “Choo” Smith, Jr. President/CEO
Charles “Choo” Smith, Jr. is the only child born to Brenda and Charles H. Smith., Sr. He was born on November 30, 1970 and was raised in West Baltimore. He graduated from the historic City College High School in 1988. While he excelled at baseball, he soon realized his true love was for the game of basketball. Charles was the starting point guard for the varsity team and quickly rose to the rank of captain.
Charles attended Bowie State University in Maryland. He soon became the institution’s starting point guard. After his first year of college Charles was recruited by Mr. Will Jones, head coach of the University of the District of Columbia. Choo immediately earned his spot as the starting point guard. Led by Choo, the Firebirds went seven games over .500 for the first time in 10 years. Choo was honored for his exceptional basketball skills and finished his college career as the school’s all time leader in Steals and Assists. During this time Choo was voted MVP of the team, he won The Pigskin Classic Award as the “Best Player” in the region and the Reslyn W. Henry Memorial Award. Charles “Choo” Smith graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
Charles caught the eye of a representative from the world-renowned Original Harlem Globetrotters and signed a contract to join the team. He moved to the top of the pyramid by becoming a high-profile member of the team until 2001 when he sustained what some thought would be a career ending back injury. He soon recovered and began playing for the Harlem Wizards from 2001-2002 and then overseas in the Euro League with the Vienna Basket Hounds from 2002-2003. Charles has played in all 50 States and in 26 countries. He was recognized as one of the greatest dribblers in the world.
Charles founded Choo Smith Youth Empowerment, a non-profit organization that focuses on his “4L” philosophy (Love it, Learn it, Live it, Lead it) and Choo Smith Enterprise a for-profit corporation. From these organizations the Choo Smith Summer Basketball Camp was born. This camp became the platform for many initiatives under Choo Smith Youth Empowerment, Inc.
Choo has the ability to reach children and youth right where they are in life. His drive and determination will not allow him to ever leave any child where he found them. His motives and heart are pure from the sense that he wants nothing from the children and families he helps but to position them to be successful. The integrity that he exhibits magnifies itself in everything that he’s involved with. Choo does not compromise his ethics and faith in Christ for any reason. He has a heart of gold. No matter what time of the day, if a child needs to talk to him about anything, he always makes himself available. He is soft spoken, but when he speaks he commands the attention of the audience he is speaking to. Failure is never an option. He pushes the athletes he trains to reach their full potential. He gives of his time, money and whatever is needed of him freely.
Choo has been featured on local and national television networks like Fox News, NBC, ABC and Cornerstone Television. Choo has appeared on television shows like “Good Fellas of Baltimore”, a Fox reality show, and the new ABC Reality show “Ball Boys”.
As a humanitarian, Charles “Choo” Smith has and continues to touch the lives of youth throughout Maryland and across the world. Some of his humanitarian efforts include:
- Conducted basketball clinics in Israel as part of a goodwill delegation of current and former NBA players with Sports Power International. Spoke personally with President Peres of Israel.
- Participated in a back to school book bag give-a-way with partner Diakon/Kathryn’s Kloset
- Keynote speaker for FAMILY CONFERENCE FOR HOMICIDE SURVIVORS
- Read to a first grade class at Pimlico Ele/Middle School’s “Book for Breakfast” program during American Education Week
- Assisted in giving coats to homeless men at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore, MD at The Annual Coat Give-a-Way event with the Baltimore Ravens/Diakon/Kathryn’s Kloset.
- Served as advisor for the Fox 45 Reality Television Show ‘Good Fellas of Baltimore’. The ‘Good Fellas’ mission is to work with non-profit organizations to help families in need.
- Renovated the McAbee basketball court in the Sandtown Community in Baltimore, MD
Choo has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work and service in the community with children and youth. Some of these awards and recognitions include:
- Certificate of Appreciation from Baltimore Adolescent and Guidance Organization, Inc
- Community Service Award from the Baltimore Panthers AAU Basketball Team
- Salute to African American Males from Baltimore County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc
- The Greatness Inside of You Award from Kevin Cares Foundation, Inc.
- For the first time in the 85 year history of the Harlem Globetrotters, they partnered with a former player to raise funds to help underprivileged children attend the 2011 and 2012 Choo Smith Summer Basketball Camp.
- Received 2011 Content of Character Award by Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs
- Served as the Honorary Chair for Healthcare for the Homeless’ 2011 Chocolate Affair.
- Requested to bring the Choo Smith Basketball Camp to the military bases throughout the US.
- Received the 2011 Presidential Volunteer Services Award
- For the past three years, serves as the halftime entertainment for the most recognized national high school basketball tournament, ESPN National High School Invitational (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
- Recipient of the 2012 Top 100 MBE Prestige Award
- Grand Marshall for the 2013 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Baltimore, MD
- Named Celebrity Spokesperson for International Rett Syndrome Foundation beginning in 2013.
Today, Charles resides in Maryland and is married to his wife of 8 years, Damali Smith and together they have three children, Ayanna, Charles and Layla.