Stephen A. Smith addresses Alabama's decision to play Brandon Miller

Stephen A. Smith applauded Brandon Miller the basketball player for his Wednesday night performance on the court, but questioned him for having the firearm that was allegedly used to murder a 23-year-old woman.

According to police testimony that was shared on Tuesday, Miller, a star men’s basketball player for the Alabama Crimson Tide, brought the gun that then-teammate Darius Miles and Michael Davis allegedly used in the of murder 23-year-old woman Jamea Joanne Harris on January 15. (Both are charged with capital murder; the district attorney’s office has accused Davis of pulling the trigger and Miles of providing the gun.) Miller’s attorney states he was returning the gun which was left in his car by Miles.

Miller’s alleged involvement was not revealed until the police testimony was made public on Tuesday. One day later, Miller, a projected lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, was on the court for No. 2 ranked Alabama in their game against South Carolina. On First Take Thursday morning, Smith addressed Alabama’s decision to play Miller despite the new information that was released.

“I will applaud Brandon Miller the basketball player from the standpoint that to endure what he was enduring last night,” Smith said. “And to go out there as a freshman and to put on that show on the road, absolutely showed a level of mental toughness that I believe NBA scouts…assuming there’s nothing that comes from this from a legal perspective, they’ll look at that level of mental toughness and find a way to applaud that.”

With the South Carolina crowd chanting “lock him up,” Miller managed to have one of his most impressive performances of the season on the court, scoring 41 points and converting on the game-winner with less than a second left in overtime. But whether Miller should have even been on the court is the biggest question.

The murder of Harris occurred five weeks ago, seemingly giving Alabama ample time to process Miller’s role in allegedly bringing the murder weapon that was used at the request of Darius Miles. But Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne claimed the school just learned of Miles’ allegedly requesting the gun from Miller, which makes it even stranger that he was on the court so soon after that information was provided.

After applauding Miller the basketball player, Smith proceeded to condemn the Alabama star just for having the gun. Again, according to Miller’s attorney, it was Miles’ gun that he left in Miller’s car.

“As a young man, I want Brandon Miller to think about this,” Smith continued. “You didn’t pull the trigger, you didn’t shoot anybody, and it’s important to say that. But it’s also important to say this, if you didn’t have that firearm to provide for Darius Miles and the person that he was with, a 23-year-old young lady probably would still be alive.

“And for you to have anything to do with that is something that should make it very, very, very difficult to sleep at night, as opposed to pumping your chest at people who were booing you.”

As the No. 2 ranked team in college basketball, Alabama is expected to make a big run in the NCAA Tournament. So we haven’t yet reached the fever pitch of this story and the debate over whether Miller should be allowed to continued playing.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to