Stephen A. Smith.
We posed some questions for Mr. Smith, some of the answers may very well surprise you.
1) You have a unique style and presence. The internet and critics are often unkind and harp on the your propensity for loud deliveries. It's ironic that one of the 'endearing' things people find about Dick Vitale is his loud, excited manner. Do you think there is a particular reason that yours might be received more critically?
Obviously, my being BLACK doesn't help when coupled with my demonstrative delivery, and I'll openly admit I need to tone the volume down a bit -- which is difficult because I've been loud my entire life. But I really don't concern myself with critics or their views because, by and large, I think their cynicism is an ingrained excuse to avoid the validity of the words coming out of my mouth.
The fact, why far from flawless, I usually know what I'm talking about while providing a perspective that's rarely heard, mainly because of the paucity of BLACKS in my chosen field. I consider it my responsibility to express a point of view -- even one I may admittedly not necessarily agree with -- that echoes that of the disenfranchised, the individuals who feel passionately about something yet go unheard. When you have that type of conscience, that little something extra in your soul, the haters will undoubtedly be right everywhere. I not only except it; I embrace it. Always have! Always will!
2) What still remains for you to do on TV? You have had an accomplished career in television. What goals still remain to be met?
I'm still aspiring to be a reporter for 60 minutes one day. Regardless of my opinions, it would still be a dream come true for me.....Ed Bradley is something I've idolized my entire adult life. That has not change, although he's departed from us now.
3) Travis Johnson has taken a lot of heat for his post game comments about Trent Green. Many sportswriters (ie, Peter King) have lambasted Johnson for his statements, essentially saying 'get over it, the hit wasn't illegal'. Some of these are the same people (ie, Peter King) that years ago wrote columns saying that Warren Sapp's hit on Chad Clifton may have been legal, but was unnecessary and cheap . Any thoughts on this?
No thoughts whatsoever. I really don't care about that at all.
4) When is the last time you watched a hockey game?
Last year...........Flyers vs. Rangers.
5) As basketball season begins, we'd be remiss not to ask a basketball related question. We've read that the Pacers are re-marketing themselves to their fan base. That, essentially, their studies show they have a 'conservative market' that doesn't identify with 'hip hop' culture. As part of the effort to regain profitability and sell tickets, they hope to field a team which exhibits the 'conservative market's' values of 'hard work, fundamentals and team work', and focus less on the individual player. Do you think a team can be successful on the court with a basketball/coaching philosophy built on marketing goals? And, clearly when you cut through the politically correct language, those goals are based on appealing to a white fan base.
I see no problem with what the Pacers are doing, for several reasons. First, marketing is what's things are all about these days and if the Pacers decide they want to focus on team, we all can certainly understand why that would be the safest direction to head in, in light of Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and some of the other individuals that have managed to get themselves into troubling situations.
But more importantly, to answer your latter question directly regarding appealing to a white audience, if that's their audience, what's wrong with it? Just like politicians, no franchise is bigger than its constituency. If Indiana's fan base is majority white and you're asking them to pay their hard-earned dollars to patronize your product, then they have a right to want what they want and expect you to give them what they want. We all need to realize that and act accordingly. And if we have a problem with such a mantra or edict, then go work in a place or for an organization that mirrors you own individual belief system.
That's the way things are in America. We all need to get use to it.