Stephen A. Smith on his radio show.

There is a large gap between Stephen A. Smith’s perception of himself as not only the world’s foremost master debater on all fronts, but also the world’s greatest soap opera guest star, reporter and host, and much of the world’s perception of him as a hot-takey emphatic-on-command windbag who repeatedly trips on banana peels when trying to report. That was illustrated last Friday when he went off on Kevin Durant’s response to “A REPORTER!” and suggested that if he’d been present, it would have gone very differently (with some implied threats, also a standard for Stephen A.). And it was illustrated again Tuesday when he read on air (on his nationally-syndicated ESPN Radio/ESPNEWS show) what he said was a text from a Washington Wizards’ player about that organization’s current drama:

“Now let me read you something that somebody in the WIZARDS’ locker room wrote about John Wall. ‘We love Scott Brooks. Love playing for him. He just can’t coach John. John just walks all over him and it frustrates everybody. The way he plays is impossible to play with. We have so many guns, not enough bullets. If John would just play off the ball and let others eat, we’d be fine. But that’s a difficult thing for him to do, and sometimes it’s difficult for us to watch.”

“We have so many guns, not enough bullets” feels like a sad letter from Ken Burns’ PBS The Civil War documentary series. (And it’s more than a little ironic considering that the Washington NBA team used to be named the Bullets.) And it’s unclear why any Wizards’ player would be texting Stephen A., and if they knew that he might read their comments on air. Oh, and if Smith was actually to be taken seriously, you’d think this kind of obtained comment would show up in other ESPN stories; at this point, that’s not the case, and it probably won’t be given his reporting track record. But reading this text alone wasn’t enough, oh no. As Black Sports Online’s Robert Littal (who wrote about this here) noted, this was just part of Smith trying to bolster his credentials as a reporter:

You keep on keeping on, Stephen A. Maybe you’ll get your wish of being “A REPORTER” and yelling at players up close and personal. Of course, it’s unlikely a reporter who did that would remain employed for too long, but much of Stephen A.’s career is a story of continued employment despite the absence of any possible reason for that. So, you know, this is about par for the course.

[Black Sports Online]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.