Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose in 2018 May 31, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) walks by ESPN announcers Jalen Rose and Stephen A. Smith before the game Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the 2018 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being let go by ESPN last summer, Jalen Rose remains a keen observer of the sports media landscape.

Rose had worked at ESPN since 2007 in some form, first as a college basketball game and studio analyst and as an NBA analyst for platforms including SportsCenter, then as the co-host of the Jalen and Jacoby TV show/radio show/podcast with David Jacoby from 2011-2022, as an NBA Countdown analyst since 2012, as a launch host of Get Up in 2018, and as a regular figure on other ESPN studio programming over the last decade-plus.

Since his recent departure from ESPN, Jalen Rose has continued to be a vocal figure in the sports commentary landscape, as demonstrated by his recent tweets this past weekend. Based on his Twitter/X account remarks, he might interpret the current media environment as validating his past decisions, prioritizing authenticity over practices like sensation-seeking for views and subscriptions.

Rose’s comments suggest that certain media personalities might criticize athletes for generating attention, potentially offering apologies later. While it’s unclear who Rose refers to specifically, the timing coincides with Stephen A. Smith, his former colleague, making controversial comments about Zion Williamson’s weight.

During a segment on ESPN’s Get Up on Friday morning, host Mike Greenberg asked Smith which NBA team is under the most pressure entering the regular season’s second half. And while discussing the New Orleans Pelicans, the First Take host opted to play the hits, once again taking potshots at their star player’s weight.

“Zion Williamson, it’s not about his game. It’s about how many burgers he’s eating and whether or not he’s going to be in shape or is he going to keep eating McDonald’s and keep having chefs clamoring for him to come to their restaurants,” Smith said. “That’s what he has to prove: that the chefs don’t love him any longer. That he’s committed to playing basketball and being in shape.”

Rose’s comments came the following Saturday.

And while Rose didn’t tag Smith in his Twitter rant, the @ may not have been needed to get his point across. Even if Rose’s slight — focused on a perceived trend of criticism and potential self-promotion — was more of a general rant against the media, it came at a time when Smith was under fire for continuing to fat-shame the New Orleans Pelicans star.

And this isn’t the first time Rose has seemingly called out Smith. He did it back when they were still colleagues at ESPN, taking an apparent shot at the First Take host for pretending to fake troll the Dallas Cowboys.

He later said those remarks were directed at Skip Bayless, but the problem with this claim is that Smith trolls the Cowboys, and Skip Bayless doesn’t.

While it’s unclear if this was indeed his intention — to take another shot at Smith — the timing of his remarks raises questions about their potential connection.

[Jalen Rose on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.