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‘Bucket list’: Former pro basketball player pursues lifelong dream of becoming LEO at 61

“I think that age has nothing to do with it,” Michael Smith said. “If you’re … willing to really dedicate the time necessary to fulfill this opportunity … you can do it. I’m a prime example”

By Joanna Putman
Police1

WASHINGTON — A former professional basketball player plans to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a police officer. Once he graduates from the academy, he’ll be the oldest rookie in D.C. police history, NBC Washington reported.

Working in law enforcement was Michael Smith’s dream before his basketball pursuits,according to the report. Now that he has spent 25 years in the game, he says he is ready to pursue his goals.

“God had different plans for me, so I went overseas and played basketball, professional basketball, 15 years. Coached professional basketball for 10 years,” Smith said. “But I had to fulfill my bucket list. Now, it’s time to come back and fulfill my all-time dream, and that’s being a law enforcement [officer].”

Smith is currently a recruit in the police academy. He’ll be 61 in April, when his academy class is set to graduate, according to the report.

“I’m proud that I have an opportunity to give back to the community and fulfill one of my dreams, but I think that age has nothing to do with it,” Smith told NBC Washington. “If you’re physically fit and mentally fit and you’re willing to really dedicate the time necessary to fulfill this opportunity and dream, you can do it. I’m a prime example. A perfect example.”

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has a mandatory retirement age of 65, meaning that Smith’s time on the force will be limited. He intends to take full advantage of it, according to the report.

“I’m just here to fulfill my dream and show myself, my family, who are behind me 100%, to fulfill my bucket list, my ambition, lifetime dream,” Smith said. “And if it’s four or five years, I’m going to dedicate 100% to do it. I’m giving my best and showing everybody during those five years that Michael Smith enjoyed his time and he did the best he can.”

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