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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Stephen A. Smith: I’m Too Popular to 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.

“I can’t afford all of that, so I never considered myself a celebrity, but when I walk the street or go to different places, my popularity speaks for itself. It interferes with the newspaper work. I go to games, and security is having to hold people back that want autographs when I’m trying to write a column on press row. I’m not accustomed to that.

Relax.  There’s plenty of writers who don’t seem to have that issue and people respect them more than they respect you.  I’ve never heard Peter Gammons complain about anything like that, to name one example. Maybe the Philadelphia Inquirer dropped him because they were sick of him pulling the race card.  Having too much on your plate is one thing, but people knowing your face doesn’t stop you from doing your job as a writer.  His “all about me” attitude never ceases to amaze me.  The unfortunate part is I used to like Stephen A. – a lot.  I now realize the only reason he wants to provide cutting edge information is to make himself look like the man.

Smith enjoys life on national radio [Times Union]
Stephen A. Smith is Humble, Doesn’t Rule Out Return to ESPN [The Big Lead]

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