Inside the NBA has a lot of influence within The Association, a responsibility Kenny Smith says he and Charles Barkley don’t take lightly.
Smith recently joined his former teammate Vernon Maxwell on the MaXed Out podcast. During the interview, Smith recalled a time where he recognized just how much his comments on Inside the NBA could resonate through the league.
“I didn’t know the influence I had,” Smith explained. “We had a day where I said one thing on the show, and Charles backed it up and the coach got fired the next day. So, me and Charles walked into the back, and we said we could never do that again. We should never say that a guy shouldn’t have his job because that was like 11 years ago. Since that day, we’ve never said anything like, ‘This guy should be fired’…Because we didn’t realize the influence we had on media.”
Smith did not state who the coach was, I will very casually speculate that it may have been Mike Brown. At the start of the 2012 NBA season, Smith and Barkley were critical of the offense Brown was attempting to run with the Lakers, a team that had high expectations with Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and the late Kobe Bryant. After a 1-4 start, Brown was fired.
Considering they were critical of the Lakers coach, there was surprise surrounding the abrupt firing, and it parallels the timeline presented by Smith, Brown would be my very raw guess. As an aside, kudos to Brown for now being on the verge of getting the Sacramento Kings back to the playoffs for the first time in 16 years.
That said, whether it was Mike Brown with the Lakers or a different NBA head coach, it’s hard to imagine an organization would make such a rash decision based on Smith and Barkley’s analysis on TV. Inside the NBA maintains influence, but I don’t think they have enough influence to speak a firing into existence. But if that’s the mindset Smith and Barkley need to hold themselves accountable on TV, then by all means, go for it.