Stephen A. Smith became the alpha on First Take, the face of ESPN, and the country’s premier voice on the NBA. After all that, it seems to have gone to Stephen A.’s head.

After watching ESPN Radio’s morning show of Jay Williams and Keyshawn Johnson dominate the midday pairing of Alan Hahn and Bart Scott in a game of 2-on-2, Smith decided he was ready to get in on the action. Instead of battling with Williams and JJ Redick on First Take, Smith plans on recruiting a basketball partner so they can go head-to-head on the court.

Smith, to his credit, admitted he probably won’t win. How humble, a 54-year-old sports talk host admits he might not be able to beat a team of basketball players who are more than a decade younger than him. But that’s where the humility ended for Smith, because he believes that even in a loss, he’ll be able to get buckets.

“Jay Williams, JJ Redick, Patrick Beverley, these are NBA players. I’m not on that level. I know better than that,” Smith said Friday on First Take. “But Jay Williams came out and said, ‘I’m not scoring a point.’ I’m not saying I’m gonna win by any stretch. But I’m gonna have my moments where, Jay, I’m gonna bust your ass.”

I’m not sure what’s worse, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo thinking he can teach Redick about basketball fundamentals, or Stephen A. Smith believing he’d get his against NBA players on the court.

Did he watch Williams nearly break Keyshawn Johnson’s ankles last month? Did he watch Redick drain threes in the NBA as recently as last year? Sports media seems desperate to get on the court in recent weeks. Reggie Miller and Stan Van Gundy called for a TNT vs ESPN bout against Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy last month, ESPN Radio had their morning vs midday challenge and now First Take is preparing to get in on the 2-on-2 action.

“You score, I get the ball back. I get numerous chances at the apple. That happens, I’m gonna skate on you, I’m gonna skate on you,” Smith boasted to Williams. “I’m telling you right now!”

Williams and Redick both played at Duke and were lottery picks in the NBA Draft, with the latter compiling a 15-year career in the pros. And Stephen A. Smith thinks his credentials as a point guard for Division II Winston-Salem State 35 years ago are worthy of respect from NBA players? Blasphemous.


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