Kelvin Dickerson and Christina Smith-Sylve welcomed their son, DeVonta Smith, on November 14, 1998. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver and his younger brother Christian were raised in Amite City, Louisiana, by their mother, and he usually spent weekends with his father.
Here’s what you need to know about DeVonta Smith’s family:
1. DeVonta Smith’s Parents Are Christina Smith-Sylve & Kelvin Dickerson & His Mother Said She Became Pregnant Before Her College Graduation
Smith’s mother, Christina Smith-Sylve, was raised in Amite, a town in southeastern Louisiana well known for its oyster industry. Like her son, she was an athlete, playing basketball at Amite High Magnet School, the same high school that the NFL star would later attend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Smith-Sylve decided to pursue a career in social work after attending her high school career day and learning about the profession, and enrolled at the Southern University in Baton Rouge. She graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in social work, her LinkedIn shows.
She learned that she was pregnant with Smith before graduating from college and he was born later that year, though she shared with the Inquirer that her pregnancy wasn’t planned. “It was a surprise. Nothing planned. But that happens,” she told the publication. “It was hard work and determination to complete it and graduate.”
Smith’s parents weren’t together when he was growing up, but his mother shared that the two have a “great co-parenting relationship.” She told the Inquirer, “His dad is quiet. DeVonta gets that from him. Kind of reserved. Don’t show a lot of emotion. His dad is a hard worker.” Smith would usually see his father, Dickerson, who managed a car detailing business, on the weekend.
He described his father as a “neat freak,” which works well with his chosen career. “With him, it’s just about, really, details in everything you do,” Smith said. “When people expect you to clean their cars, they want everything done right, and that’s how he is. When he tells you to do something, he wants you to do it and do it the right way.”
One of Smith’s high school coaches, Zephaniah Powell, shared that Smith’s parents were very supportive and were always at his games, home and away, without fail.
2. DeVonta Smith’s Mother Christina Smith-Sylve Worked as a Social Worker When He Was Growing Up & It Worried Him
Smith-Sylve began working as a social worker when her son was still young, starting in 2006 as a Child Welfare Specialist with the Department of Children and Family Services in Amite, her LinkedIn states. Her job had a lasting impact on Smith, and he shared that he constantly worried about her safety when she was called to respond to families in crisis sometimes in the middle of the night.
He described that when the phone would ring at night, his mother would often have to leave him and his brother with a family member as she responded to a situation. She was sometimes accompanied by a colleague or a member of law enforcement, although she sometimes had to go alone to take children out of difficult situations and try to avoid escalating things, the Inquirer reported.
He told the publication he worried about her “all the time” and tried to accompany her himself. “I always asked, ‘Is this a time I can come?’” he shared. “You go into families’ houses and take their children away from them. … It’s not always the easiest job. I’ve been there when I’ve heard things [said to her] and it wasn’t so safe.”
“I’ve always wanted her to not be doing it, but I mean, that’s what she went to school for, that’s what she likes, that’s what she enjoys doing,” he continued. “I can’t blame her for that, but I always wish she was in a different situation.” Despite having stress over her job, he said he believes it made him a better son because he was exposed to what happened in other families.
“I would never want to put my mom in a situation like that,” he shared. “So I always try to do the right things, always try to be on the right path.”
3. DeVonta Smith Was Close With Both His Mother & Father When He Was Growing Up
When Smith was growing up, his family wasn’t living in the lap of luxury but his mother said that they were more fortunate than others. The NFL star, who’s been praised for his humility and maturity, was told by his mother, “We don’t have a lot,” she recounted to the Inquirer. “But what we do have, we value it, and some people are not fortunate [enough] to have what you have.”
He often played football outside with his friends, but his mother, wanting to make sure he stayed safe, told him he had to be home when the street lights came on, he told GQ.
When he spent time with his father on weekends, they’d be busy out in the woods, fishing or driving around on four-wheelers, Smith told the publication. “We find something new every day,” he said of his adventures in the woods with his father. “It’s real country, country wit’ my dad.”
His father valued his time with his son as well, and shared in an emotional interview after his son won the Heisman Trophy, “He’s been the best thing that probably could have ever happened to me.”
4. DeVonta Smith Bought His Mother a House After He Was Drafted Into the NFL & Wrote That She Was His ‘Absolute World’
Smith’s mother has always been very proud of her son and she said she’d told him when he was younger that it was up to him to “make [his] own destiny.” She told the Inquirer that she thinks he took her words to heart, explaining, “He’s always been a small child, but he has the work ethic, he has the heart and determination for it. He was a born leader. I’m very proud of the young man he has become.”
The Eagles star, who hasn’t posted much about his personal life and his family on his Instagram, preferring to post photos and videos of the team, made an exception on June 24, 2021, when he posted a sweet video on his page. He captioned it, “To the world you are a mother, but to me you are the absolute world.” The video showed the moment he surprised his mother with the house he’d bought her and her emotional reaction to his gesture.
5. DeVonta Smith Has a Younger Brother, Christian Smith, Who Is Playing High School Football
The football genes clearly run in the family as Smith has a younger brother, Christian Smith, who is also playing high school football in Amite. His Hudl profile states that he can play both as a running back and outside linebacker and is set to graduate in 2024.
Smith has shared that his brother doesn’t feel extra pressure due to his own NFL career and told the Inquirer that he “understands” it. “People call him my little brother, he don’t like it,” he added. “He made it easier for me, because he already understood that he’s not ‘DeVonta’s little brother,’ he’s Christian.”
The two brothers often brawled when they were younger over any sort of competition. In fact, Smith was “terrible” and didn’t quiet down until he got to high school, he shared, at which point his mother began threatening him with keeping him out of games if he didn’t behave. “If she said I wasn’t playing this game, no one was gonna talk her out of it. She stuck by what she said,” Smith told GQ.