‹‹ Colorado Matters

Shirley Smith, wife of former Denver Nuggets star J.R. Smith, on her ‘miracle baby’ and mental health journey

Listen Now
20min 18sec
Shirley Smith
Courtesy Shirley Smith
Shirley Smith

There’s a saying: “Never get between a mama bear and her cubs.” Shirley Smith can relate. The wife of NBA star J.R. Smith delivered their daughter at just 21 weeks. And many of the mental challenges she’s faced in her life unfolded in Colorado, while her husband was making moves on the basketball court as a Denver Nugget.

Shirley Smith recounts it all in vivid detail in her book, "Mama Bear: One Black Mother's Fight for Her Child's Life and Her Own." She was back in Denver in February for an event aimed at raising awareness about mental health challenges in the Black community.