Stephen A. Smith praises LaMar Odom, says Phil Jackson was ‘target of my ire’
Stephen A. Smith came under fire this week for taking what many considered a cheap shot at Lamar Odom, and the ESPN personality released a statement on Friday in an attempt to clarify his comments.
Earlier in the week, Smith was ranting about Phil Jackson when he noted that one of the Knicks president’s first moves with the team was to sign Lamar Odom at the end of the 2013-2014 season despite the big man being “on crack.” In a statement released to Deadspin late Friday night, Smith praised Odom and said he only intended to bash Jackson.
“Because of my personal affection for Lamar Odom — and only for that reason — I want to return to my comments about something I’ve repeated quite often over the last few days: the flagrant ineptitude that I feel has been on continual display by Knick’s President Phil Jackson.
My comments were NOT to put any more focus on Lamar Odom’s much publicized drug use and addiction. He was not the target of my ire.
The sole focus of my comments were directed at the unmitigated disaster that Phil Jackson has created since he’s arrived in New York. It my opinion, he simply couldn’t leave soon enough.
Lamar Odom is simply one of the nicest athletes any of us have encountered, and has always been a gentlemen to everyone in NBA circles — including me — which is something I’ve repeated throughout the years.
That’s why it’s worth repeating: Lamar Odom was not the focus of my ire. My comments were entirely, totally, meant for Phil Jackson. Anyone who loves the NY Knicks, who’ve witnessed what has been transpiring over the last three years, know exactly who I was directing my comments to.
If you notice, Smith stopped short of apologizing to Odom. An attorney who represents Odom bashed Smith in a letter Friday night, and Odom tweeted the message with some commentary of his own.
Smith is as stubborn as they come, so it’s no surprise he didn’t come out and apologize. Even if what he said about Odom’s drug use was true, dragging Lamar’s addiction into a rant about Jackson was unfair.