ESPN host Stephen A. Smith has given us many incredible rants over the years, and you can quibble over which is the best (I’m partial to this one). But any conversation from here on about Stephen A.’s top vocal-chord frying meltdown must include the one he offered up Monday when the subject on First Take turned to Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Let’s break this down.

Stephen A. starts by applauding Kristaps Porzingis for making known his dissatisfaction toward Jackson. Smith then contrasts Porzingis with Carmelo Anthony, who has mostly taken the high road toward his bumbling boss.

The venom and the hostility than Phil Jackson has put on public display towards this man, for months—he has basically, figuratively speaking, slapped Carmelo Anthony around while Carmelo Anthony has done little to nothing to defend himself. And that disturbs me because he is in the right, he deserves better than this, Phil Jackson is wrong, and it’s a damn shame that Kristaps Porzingis seems to be more willing to call Phil Jackson out than Carmelo Anthony.

Whew, that was pretty harsh on Phil.

Now let me get to Phil Jackson.

Oh boy.

He is an absolute disgrace, he needs to get the hell out of New York City big-time, quick fast and in a hurry. I am an advocate of what I was years ago right before Phil Jackson was hired. I think people need to protest outside the streets of Madison Square Garden until this man is gone. He does not care. I believe he is trying to get himself fired. I believe that the only reason Phil Jackson is still in New York is because he wants the $24 million he’s still owed, and by quitting he can’t get the money, but if he’s fired he can keep the money.

This is not the first time someone on ESPN has suggested Jackson was trying to get himself fired.

Somehow some way the billionaire that is [Knicks owner] James Dolan, who can write this off on his taxes yesterday, needs to find a way to get Phil Jackson the hell out of town.

That’s not really what “writing something off” on your taxes means, right?

I’m so damn disgusted that this damn Phil Jackson is still in New York City. I don’t even know what to do with myself, Max Kellerman. I don’t even understand how you, the ultimate cool—

At this point Stephen A. goes into a borderline indecipherable sidebar about how “cool” Kellerman is and how he should, as a New Yorker, be brimming with disgust at Phil Jackson at all times. To Stephen A, it should be impossible to maintain one’s composure in light of the Knicks having an incompetent front office.

I don’t know what I would do to Phil Jackson if he showed his face. This man is a disgrace because he’s sabotaging the Knicks. He’s throwing everything away. You see the coaches he’s hired, and nobody says anything. The players, the players, the players, the contracts, but Joakim Noah and the Derek Fish—Derrick Rose trade. But what about the coaches? He’s still got Kurt Rambis on there, who I like, but he’s hated by all the coaches, by all the players—they can’t stand the man—and still he’s there.

Wait wait wait… even though everyone hates Kurt Rambis, you still like him… but you also think it’s appalling that he hasn’t been fired? Do we have that right?

This is a disgrace, and somebody needs to do something about Phil Jackson right now. Get him the hell out of New York.


Sure Stephen A.’s act is disingenuous in 10 different ways, sure he probably went off on this rant intending to inspire blog posts exactly like this one and sure it’d be nice if there were less yelling on television. But sometimes you have to give credit where it’s due and recognize a truly astounding piece of faux outrage.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Robert L

    I bought season tickets to the new Staples Center when Phil was hired, after watching the Lakers fall apart each year after Shaq arrived and as Kobe developed. Phil wanted to bring in Pippen (than God he didn’t) but did bring his Chicago point guard, Ron Harper, as Fisher developed, and Glen Rice did as he was told for the Triangle. Rather than worship Phil or condemn the Triangle, I read all of Phil’s silly books, made it a point to talk to Shaq and Kobe at grocery stores where I had seen them, and went through the nonsense of getting the worst Season Tickets you can imagine, but got to watch the Jerry’s show at Buss’s box. The triangle is not that complicated ! These kids learn to dribble and shoot, pass occasionally to an open man to look like they are being coached, and collect the money at half speed, which is what Carmelo is still doing, as no one defends him – 25 points on 25 shots will not beat you. If the players would listen, and Phil would stop releasing guys who go on to win, they would realize that the Triangle is designed to spread the floor for the Shooting Guard – that’s all. And Smith is disgraceful, but I do agree that Phil is tired of basketball and is suffering from some form of suicidal depression – send him back to LA !

  • waynebeamer

    Screaming A’s George Jefferson routine is tired and boring. When I know he’s about to appear on an ESPN show, I change the channel. Every time.

    God, I tried to listen to him, but the bluster and faux anger for hot takes about the average stupid sports arguments that don’t matter and avoidance of ones that actually do matter just sickens me.

    However, I completely agree with Dan Le Batard about his ESPN Radio teammate Bomani Jones. He’s the smartest, more fearless sports talker few get to hear due to his horrific time slot, except on satellite or the Web. Pair Ryen Russillo with Jones and ditch RR’s current privileged, ex-NFL fratboy QB partner, and you’ve got a dynamite talk show.

  • William

    I read the tagline of “This is an all time great…”, so I watched the video.

    This was horrible. For some reason Smith can’t say the word “month” and his “outrage” is so fake it’s stupid. He also sounds like he’s about to drool on himself near the end of his rant with a mouth full of saliva.

    He looks like he’s about to laugh halfway through. It wasn’t even good acting.

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