Believe me, we do everything in our power here at LBS to not feed the beasts that are Stephen A. Smth and Skip Bayless. Both guys are annoying, and we generally try not to talk about them unless one of them flips the other one off. Well, that happened on Thursday morning’s ESPN First Take. The above screenshot comes to us courtesy of @BDPFOLIFE. If you don’t believe it actually happened, we’ve got the NSFW shot waiting for you after the jump.
Radio host and NBA reporter Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James has personal distractions that led to his lackluster play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The first I heard about the personal issues from Smith was during his guest appearance on Jim Rome is Burning Wednesday. He apparently repeated the same issues during his radio show, and then again Thursday morning on Mike and Mike with Chris Broussard in for Mike Golic. Here’s audio of that interview via Iamagm.com:
During his appearance on Jim Rome is Burning (full video below), Smith said “My theory is that he has a lot of distractions off the court and it tends to affect his play on the court. There are people in his camp who have alluded to that. … his mind is not completely and totally on the game.”
I don’t doubt Smith’s information, and it’s worth mentioning he was one of the first people to boldly predict LeBron and Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Here’s the thing: nobody wants to hear an excuse. We already heard enough about LeBron’s elbow last year and about Delonte West and his mom. Excuses are old, everyone faces problems, and we just don’t want to hear it.
LeBron, regardless of what is going on in his personal life, has to play well for the Heat. Nothing else matters except the results, and they have to be there for LeBron.
For more insight, here’s Smith’s appearance on JRIB that provides more background:
After passing along word that media personality Stephen A. Smith would be leaving his FOX Sports Radio daily morning show last month, we’ve received plenty of inquiries about his next step. Stephen A. wrote in December that we’d be hearing from him in a big way very soon. Naturally we figured he had a TV show in the making, so we decided to follow up on the issue.
Smith has been talking with Showtime about a potential late night show, even reportedly filming a pilot for them. When asked if there was any progress with the show, Smith informed LBS that “Showtime is expected to make a decision as to whether they’ll take the talk show to series” and that we would know when they make a decision.
A late night program with Smith as the host would make plenty of sense given Showtime’s new direction. An article in the LA Times Saturday highlighted Showtime’s future plans, saying “David Nevins, the network’s new entertainment president, said he planned to add more original fare and blend in sports and shows with “cool-guy” testosterone appeal to draw more men and younger viewers to the premium channel.” Seems like a Stephen A. Smith show would fit their desires.
As for any plans on a new radio show, Smith told us to “stay tuned.” We have been told that he may explore a show in a genre other than sports, perhaps something in the urban/adult contemporary category similar to Steve Harvey. To use Stephen’s terms, stay tuned.
About a year ago, Steve Czaban’s long-running morning show was canceled by FOX Sports Radio and replaced by Stephen A. Smith. The idea was to provide a different sound from the competition in the East Coast morning drive slot. Stephen A. did just that and did it well, but his style was not for some folks. Because of that reason, FOX wisely offered affiliates a second morning show option — the Zakk and Jack show with Dominic Zaccagnini and former Colts QB Jack Trudeau.
Tuesday it was announced that Stephen A. would be leaving his morning show and Zakk and Jack will become the network’s morning show. Stephen A. will play the new role of NBA analyst for the network, which likely means guest spots talking basketball.
Stephen A. implied on his twitter account that the decision was his, saying “3:30am wakeup calls, then traveling 80 miles 1-way to work everyday was very taxing.” He also added “you will be hearing from me very, very soon. In a big way, too.” Stay tuned for the latest development in the career of Stephen A., who likely is coming to a TV channel near you. And this should help explain why a future announcement won’t involve work for a newspaper.
If anything disappoints me about LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat, it’s the fact that Stephen A. Smith called it. He made his prediction with such certainty knowing that if he was wrong, he’s just another sports “insider” with bad information but if it turned out to be accurate, he gets to say, “I’m the man because I called it first.” Maybe he did have a good source and knew what he was talking about, so I guess I’ll give credit where credit’s due.
The problem I have with Stephen A. Smith is he refuses to be modest. People in American society don’t respond favorably to those who “toot their own horn,” for the most part. If you part ways with a company and decide to move on to a different chapter in your life, it’s probably not a good idea to imply that you’re leaving because you’re too good for the old job. Here’s Stephen A. Smith calling himself a celebrity in an interview with the Times Union, courtesy of The Big Lead:
I’ve always prided myself on being a newspaper guy because of that, but I do understand that it’s become incredibly hard for me to maintain my newspaper career. Believe it or not, it’s not because of these other ventures, it’s because of the popularity that it has brought to me that I never anticipated.
“I wanted to make money, I wanted to be respected for what I did, and I wanted to go home and enjoy my time with my family. Instead, what has happened, I have become what other people call a celebrity. I try to never call myself that because I consider the Denzel Washingtons and Will Smiths of the world celebrities. They can afford their privacy — the chartered jets, not having to go through airport security. You can afford all of that stuff.
If nothing else, Jay-Z has made it tough to get a read on what his approach will be in trying to land LeBron James. Publicly, he’s come out and stated that he would not try to convince LeBron to sign with the Nets, although we all know that’s completely false. With July 1 only days away, the LeBron James free agency rumors are in full swing. It’s already been said that Chris Bosh and LeBron to the Chicago Bulls is a done deal. Stephen A. Smith disagrees with that prediction and has made it clear that he believes LeBron and Bosh are both headed to Miami to team with Dwyane Wade. If that’s true you can go ahead and cancel the season, but we’ll get into that after. First, have a look at the video of Jay-Z talking about LeBron James with David Letterman, courtesy of Waiting For Next Year via Sports by Brooks Live:
What do the two above athletes have in common? They both passed up some form of higher-level education to pursue a career as professional athletes. What does the athlete on the left lack in common with the one on the right? Race. According to Stephen A. Smith, that’s a very significant factor in examining the way the public portrays 17-year-old phenom Bryce Harper.
By now we all know what Harper is capable of physically. We also know a bit about the type of person he is — or at least that he has a pretty brutal temper from what we can see. What some of us may not have thought about yet is any racial implications that go along with the way we look at the future Nationals superstar. Cue Stephen A. Smith, who isn’t exactly the most respected analyst in the industry and I’m still not sure I can agree with his latest rant. In his article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Smith refers to all the buzz and positive coverage surrounding Harper as a “clear case of hypocrisy.” Like many professional athletes have done in the past, Harper has foregone higher education by dropping out of high school to to get his GED, which has allowed the road to Major League Baseball to shorten.