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Volume 25 No. 199
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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Continues To Bait NBA Players Into Feuds

Smith over the years has gone after stars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and John Wall
Photo: ESPN IMAGES

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has been involved in a "season-long back-and-forth" with Wizards G John Wall, marking "just the latest feud between Smith and a prominent NBA star," according to Ben Strauss of the WASHINGTON POST. Following Wall announcing he would "miss the rest of the season due to heel surgery, Smith asked whether the pressure on Wall was too much." Wall later responded "without mentioning Smith by name." Warriors F Kevin Durant and Lakers F LeBron James in the past also have become "unpaid co-stars of Smith's programming," and a question exists as to whether Smith "deliberately seeks out these confrontations." ESPN Exec VP/Studio Production & Exec Editor Norby Williamson said it was good for Smith "to be an essential character in the coverage of the NBA." However, he added, "I’m not big on courting controversy. I’m not wild about a Wall and Durant going back and forth with him." Williamson believes the players’ reactions to Smith are "simply a sign of his stature." Williamson: "I want to be careful because I don’t want to say other people’s voices don’t matter. But his voice matters with our audience on a different level" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/11).