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Friday, June 5, 2020

Articles tagged: Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A Smith rips 76ers coaching after blowing Game 3

Stephen A Smith

Stephen A. Smith was not at all happy about some of the decisions made by Brett Brown during the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

The Sixers are in danger of being swept in their second round series against the Celtics after losing 101-98 in overtime. Following the game, the opinionated Smith made it clear on ESPN’s postgame show that he was not in agreement with the 76ers’ plays out of timeouts.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been roundly praised during this series as one of the best coaches in the NBA. While Brown is certainly not a bad coach, Smith made some valid points during his rant that will surely be echoed between now and Game 4 on Monday.

Stephen A Smith fires back at Le’Veon Bell after being called ‘hater’

Le'Veon Bell

Stephen A. Smith is no stranger to getting into electronic shouting matches with professional athletes, and Le’Veon Bell just became the latest.

In his regular appearance on ESPN Tuesday morning, Smith wondered if the Steelers should use Bell as a decoy in their Week 1 game after the star running back admitted he was a “little winded” when he returned to practice following his lengthy holdout. Bell didn’t appreciate the commentary.

Smith, who has never been one to back down when getting called out, immediately fired back at Bell and accused him of being too sensitive. Bell then expressed regret that he tweeted at Smith in the first place.

It didn’t end there. Addressing the spat on social media wasn’t enough for Smith, so he spoke more about it on the air during “First Take.”

It feels like just yesterday that Smith was being ripped by LeBron James over one of the reporter’s scoops on Kyrie Irving. Again, the guy lives for this. If Bell didn’t want to get into a war of words with Smith, he’s right that he should have just ignored him to begin with.

Stephen A. Smith’s sources say LeBron James wants to beat up Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland, and he apparently had better hurry up and leave before he comes within striking distance of LeBron James.

As if the drama with the Cavaliers has not already taken enough crazy turns, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is now reporting that LeBron is so angry with Irving that he wants to beat him up. No, seriously — Smith says “sources” told him this.

“In fact, I had sources in LeBron James’ camp literally tell me, and I’m quoting, ‘If Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted to beat his a–,'” Smith said Monday.

Would LeBron ever actually take a swing at Irving just because Irving no longer wants to play alongside him? We’re guessing that’s a hard no, but Smith’s “report” — if true — is indicative of how quickly the relationship between Kyrie and LeBron has deteriorated.

Initially, there were some rumblings that Irving might want to leave Cleveland if LeBron is planning to sign elsewhere next summer. But with some of the new details we have heard, it has become clear that Irving wants to get away from James. Considering the Cavs are a virtual lock to win the Eastern Conference every year, that is pretty shocking.

Boxing analyst Al Bernstein unloads on Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A Smith

Manny Pacquiao was robbed on Saturday night when he lost his title to Jeff Horn by unanimous decision, and Hall of Fame boxing analyst Al Berstein was among the many people who were outraged. But before the fight even got started, Bernstein was upset about something else.

Stephen A. Smith seems to have that effect on people, doesn’t he?

Smith criticized Horn on Saturday for not fighting many worthy opponents, and he described Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka as “no names.” That infuriated Bernstein, who unloaded on Smith in a lengthy Facebook post.

I seldom criticize sportscasting colleagues. BUT I cringe when announcers who don’t really follow boxing denigrate fighters for no reason. Perhaps before Stephen A. Smith said that Horn opponents Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka “give new meaning to the term no names” he might have done 5 minutes of research and realized that Bailey only 5 years ago was a world champion and as recently as 6 yrs ago Funeka fought twice for a world title. Are they household names to all sports or boxing fans…no. Were they aging fighters that Horn could build his name with…yes. BUT within the sport they are not no names. it is awful to read their names and a few others in a mocking tone and suggest they’re some kind of bums. These two men had excellent careers. I doubt if he would pick an aging NBA player who isn’t a superstar and call him a no name even though casual NBA fans might not know who that 2nd string power forward might be. When asked “what do you have on Jeff Horn?” Smith said, “gotta admit I don’t have much on this dude.” Really? How could you admit that on National TV when you are being paid to cover this “dude.” Then he denigrated Horn’s opponents without knowing anything about THEM. And, again, I’m not saying Horn has faced super tough competition, but don’t sit there with your co-host and laugh and mock their names, after you have admitted you didn’t even do any homework on one of the fighters who is in the main event, let alone his opponents. When I have covered other sports beyond boxing I make it my business to NOT overreach and make statements based on no knowledge. Instead I actually prepare, so that I can stay in my lane, be factual, and do the job I’m being paid for. When I covered major league baseball or the NBA on Sportscenter when I was at ESPN I didn’t offer unfounded opinions on players who I did not cover on a regular basis. I stuck to the facts and any insights I gathered from players or others who covered the sport regularly. If Smith is going to keep doing these boxing shows, I suggest he and whoever sits and co-hosts with him do the same. Sorry for this tirade, but this is more than a little distressing to me. Boxers deserve respect and accuracy when they are reported on.

Plenty of people felt that Smith was in over his head with ESPN’s coverage of the Pacquiao-Horn fight. Fortunately for him, Twitter caught fire with outrage over the judges’ decision and Smith’s analysis flew under the radar.

Berstein, who calls fights for Showtime, worked as a boxing analyst for ESPN from 1980-2003. He knows a thing or two about which fighters are “no names” and which aren’t.

Stephen A. Smith praises LaMar Odom, says Phil Jackson was ‘target of my ire’

Stephen A Smith

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.

And Why!”

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.

Lamar Odom responds to Stephen A. Smith’s ‘crack’ comment

Lamar Odom

Stephen A. Smith has been outspoken about his displeasure with Phil Jackson and James Dolan’s efforts to run the New York Knicks. Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take,” he criticized Jackson, dating back to his first days in charge of the Knicks and Jackson’s interest in Lamar Odom. Smith boisterously added that Odom was using crack cocaine at that time:

Odom, and his lawyer, have responded.

Attorney Saam Zangeneh, who represents Odom, sent a letter to ESPN regarding Smith’s comments. Odom then tweeted the entirety of the letter, using hashtags “#slander” and “#ihopewearebetterthanthis”.

Zangeneh’s letter first denies that Odom was using drugs at the time in question, saying, “Let’s put aside the fact that Lamar passed all the required physicals and medical tests necessary to play in the league. Let’s put aside the fact that Mr. Smith attempted to qualify his statement by saying how much he likes Lamar, and wishes him well in his recovery.”

The letter goes on to criticizes Smith’s belittlement of addiction and those who battle that disease.

“Think about the others that are battling addiction. Those that have not had the strength of opportunity to share their struggle like Lamar. Imagine the effect this grotesque statement would have on any young athlete who is privately fighting this disease. To become the punch line of a vulgar joke.”

Jackson signed Odom to join the Knicks in April of 2014, but Odom never ended up playing for New York.

Shane McNichol covers college basketball and the NBA for Larry Brown Sports. He also blogs about basketball at Palestra Back and has contributed to Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.

Markieff Morris slaps Stephen A Smith on butt after Game 6 (Video)

The Wizards defeated the Celtics to force Game 7 on Friday and Markieff Morris was pretty pumped up afterward.

Staring at the possibility of having their season end on their home floor, Washington came away with a win in Game 6 thanks to a three-pointer by John Wall with less than four seconds remaining in regulation to give the Wizards a 92-91 lead. That would end up being the final score.

Wall was understandably fired up afterward and jumped up on the scorer’s table to let out his emotions. Morris opted for a different method. As the Wizards forward made his way towards the tunnel to the locker room, he gave ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith a slap on the butt. The look on Smith’s face after the fact was priceless. Take a look.

Smith picked the Wizards to win the series on “First Take” and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. That said, he’s also been critical of them at various points throughout the postseason. However, on Friday, Smith had to be pleased the Wizards were able to get the win, keeping his prediction alive for atleast another couple of days, even if it resulted in him on the receiving end of what looks to be a pretty hard slap.