Stephen A. Smith Lauds LeBron, Then Criticizes Him Again

Stephen A. Smith shares candid thoughts on LeBron James

by Zain ul Abedin
Stephen A. Smith Lauds LeBron, Then Criticizes Him Again
© Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Stephen A Smith, the loud-mouth ESPN commentator, doesn’t mince his words especially when having to talk about Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James. More recently, during The OGs Show, Smith went viral once again because of the comments about James, as well as other basketball legends, which clearly demonstrated both appreciation and criticism, which seem to be inherent in their interactions.

As expected, Smith started by showering LeBron with commendations, finally agreeing with the fact that LeBron has immensely contributed to basketball. "LeBron is a great father, a great family man, a great ambassador for basketball and a fantastic role model," Smith said.

He even recommended that he should own part of the new Las Vegas franchise which James may be involved in, should the NBA consider an expansion.

Balancing Admiration and Critique

But then collaboration did not stop Smith from expressing himself when it came to criticism.

He remembered when he had to be rather critical of LeBron and their performance, especially during the playoffs when the Lakers lost to the Mavericks. "You think I enjoy having to say, 'Hey, bro, you were afraid to shoot in the fourth quarter in that final series against Dallas'? I don't enjoy it," asked Smith.

Such an admission shed a light on the delicate position that Smith assumes as a commentator who can admire the athletes and shelf them at the same time. Even though Smith never had the chance to build a friendly rapport with James, he pointed out that he is not a personal enemy of the man.

"I don't give a damn about not having a greatest relationship with LeBron James," he said, in defence of his professional position as a commentator who, at times, needs to tell unpleasant truths. The remarks made by Smith bring into focus the rising concerns and expectations among those delivering sports commentaries.

He admires LeBron and acknowledged him as one of the accomplishments; four NBA championships and the Lakers icon who won the championship last year in 2020. Still, he does not leave his post as a critical analyst and tells the truth, which may not always be pleasant.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the basketball career of LeBron James is far from over in the NBA. With the possibility of some reshuffling of the players in the Lakers, another title beckons the team. Smith’s words reflect the fact that the profession of a sports analyst often involves praise and censure of the athletic legend, thus best illustrating the complex nature of the realm.

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