Stephen A. Smith Dismisses Rift with LeBron: 'I Don't Care'

ESPN's Smith Discusses NBA Commentary Challenges

by Nouman Rasool
Stephen A. Smith Dismisses Rift with LeBron: 'I Don't Care'
© Tim Heitman/Getty Images

Stephen A. Smith has been candid about his somewhat contentious relationship with NBA icon LeBron James, and now to that same candor he adds the peculiar slight of poor ratings on ESPN's "First Take." Speaking on The OGs Show, Smith echoed his thoughts and feelings about James saying they were entangled web of emotions.

Smith shared during the show, "I have no relationship with LeBron James. Frankly, I do not concern myself very much with that. But, I recognize his greatness not only as a player on the court but also as a father, family patriarch and role model." And he backed James moving into a future career as an NBA owner.

I Would Love to See LeBron Get an Ownership Stake if the NBA Expands in Las Vegas He deserves that,'' Smith said. But this is pretty much your usual embroidery of a conversation between Smith and James when it comes to basketball critiques.

LeBron embraces the slack when you give him praise. But if you talk bad of how he plays, in a hurry resorts to all the non-basketball-positive things he's done. Jon Jones gets into it with a translator at UFC 197: 'I don't like doing.

It's frustrating'

Smith Critiques LeBron

Smith gave an example where he ripped James for his action in the NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks. "Saying LeBron looked hesitant to shoot come fourth quarter during that series was tough.toLowerCase." "That's a part of talking basketball," Smith said.

And LeBron's former teammate, Udonis Haslem, supported Smith's statements by calling attention to James' history of avoiding basketball criticisms. The 2010-11 Miami Heat roster controversy involving LeBron's comments was another issue Smith tackled.

Smith strongly disagreed as LeBron had intimated that the entire roster was not talented enough to win a championship. "Not a fact," Smith noted. "That does not have to be the case, as LeBron showed us in failing miserably in the 2011 NBA Finals.

At the end of a great year, he simply came up short." And then, "LeBron wasn't the player in 2011 that he would ultimately become the one who vanquished countless demons and won multiple titles with a comeback from down three-one against the Warriors." In short, Smith pointed out that athletes get critiqued no matter what.

Is saying "It's important for criticism to be fair, but I do cross the line sometimes," an answer? In candid hindsight, he got into the dynamic and at times tumultuous world of sports journalism and how his relationship with athletes was affected by it.

Stephen A. Smith