Stephen Anthony Smith (born October 14, 1967) is a sports television presenter, sports radio host, and sports journalist from the United States. He is a regular NBA analyst for ESPN, appearing on SportsCenter, NBA Countdown, and the network’s NBA broadcasts. He has previously hosted ESPN Radio’s The Stephen A. Smith Show and is a pundit on ESPN’s First Take, which he co-hosts with Molly Qerim. Smith contributes to ESPN and the Philadelphia Inquirer as a columnist.
Early life and education
Stephen Anthony Smith was born in the Bronx, a New York City borough. He grew up in the Queen’s neighborhood of Hollis. Smith is the sixth of six children. He has four older sisters and a deceased older brother, Basil, who died in a car accident in 1992. On his father’s side, he also has a half-brother. Smith’s parents are from Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands. His father was the owner of a hardware store. Smith’s maternal grandmother was white, and the rest of his grandparents were African-American. He graduated from Thomas Edison High School in Queens in 1986.
Smith obtained a basketball scholarship at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a historically black university. He played basketball in college for Hall of Fame coach Clarence Gaines. Smith penned a commentary for the university newspaper, The News Argus, while still on the team, urging that Gaines should resign due to health difficulties. He is a member of the fraternity Omega Psi Phi. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in public communication in 1991.
Smith began his print journalism career with the Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News and Record, and New York Daily News.
Smith worked as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer beginning in 1994. As an NBA columnist for the Philadelphia 76ers, he subsequently became a general sports columnist. The Inquirer announced on August 23, 2007, that Smith would no longer be writing columns and would instead be relegated to the role of general assignment reporter.
Smith began hosting a weekday noon to 2 p.m. radio show on WEPN in New York City with his “right-hand man B.T. (Brandon Tierney)” on April 11, 2005. The show was moved to the 2-4 p.m. time slot on September 20, 2007, with the second hour being broadcast nationwide on ESPN Radio, replacing the third hour of The Dan Patrick Show (Mike Tirico took over the first two hours). Smith’s show ended in April 2008 as he wished to broaden his television career, and on May 1, Scott Van Pelt took over the 3–4 p.m. hour that Smith had previously hosted.
Smith joined Fox Sports Radio as an on-air contributor in November 2009, breaking the news of Allen Iverson’s retirement on the Chris Myers-Steve Hartman afternoon broadcast on November 25. On December 2, Iverson concluded his brief retirement and rejoined the Philadelphia 76ers. Smith began hosting the Fox Sports Radio morning show on January 4, 2010, taking over for Washington, D.C.-based anchor Steve Czaban. Smith correctly predicted on his radio show that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would all sign with the Miami Heat during free agency in 2010. Smith left his morning show in early 2011 to become a resident FSR NBA insider.
Smith returned to ESPN from Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports station on January 17, 2017. His two-hour daily show can be heard on WEPN in New York, KSPN in Los Angeles, Sirius XM’s ESPN channel, and through syndication.
Smith began hosting a daily hour-long show on ESPN called Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith in August 2005. He has featured on other ESPN programming, such as the reality series Dream Job, and was a frequent guest (and guest host) on Pardon the Interruption, Jim Rome Is Burning, and 1st and 10. On the Sunday morning broadcast of SportsCenter, he was an anchor. Smith revealed on his website on April 17, 2009, that he would be departing ESPN on May 1, 2009. According to the Los Angeles Times, ESPN stated, “We decided to move in different directions.” However, a source told Big Lead Sports that ESPN and Smith met at the negotiation table and could not reach an agreement.
Smith is currently one of the hosts of First Take on ESPN.
On February 2, 2007, Smith made his acting debut as a television reporter in a cameo role on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. Smith has been a fan of the show since he was a child, as his elder sisters watched it every day. Smith first appeared as Brick on General Hospital on March 31, 2016, and has reprised the role every year thereafter.
Smith revealed in a December 11, 2019, interview with GQ that he has two kids, ages 10 and 11 at the time. He was previously engaged. When questioned why he never completed the marriage, he stated, “It didn’t work out.” In fact, I just told my sister the other day that it’s none of your business. Something has to do with my job and money. I stated that this is not a debate. If I want to give you an answer, you’ll receive one.” Smith is a supporter of his hometown clubs, the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks.