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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I’m More Popular Than 90% Of The Players’

“He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.”

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Game Theory with Bomani Jones debuted Sunday night on HBO. The show featured Jones’s commentary on the day’s sports issues, some comedy sketches, and an interview with Stephen A. Smith. The First Take star was very candid about his stature in the sports world and his run-ins with people that were unhappy with what he had to say about them.

“I was never good enough to be an elite college athlete, let alone a professional athlete,” Smith told Jones. “And to walk into an arena and be more popular than 90% of the players, every single place I go, is crazy.”

Stephen A. Smith illustrated the point with a story about watching a game at Cnseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. According to Smith, while he his eyes were on the court, a long line of people wanting his autograph had formed and it stretched from the court to way up in the stands.

Smith also offered some real insight into how he became the asset to ESPN that he is now. He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.

He played basketball and wrote for the student paper at Winston-Salem State University. He told a story about writing a column saying his coach needed to retire. According to Smith, the column ruffled some feathers in the athletic department and had plenty of people wanting him kicked out of school, but his coach stood up for him saying that if Smith wants to be a journalist, his job is to call it like he sees it and that he was fair in the way he dealt with the coach.

Stephen A. Smith said that if his basketball coach could deal with him professionally in that moment, he expects others to be able to do the same.

“My problem is, half the time, people are coming at me because of the headline. They don’t read the story. They don’t know the quote. They’re like ‘This headline is out there. You said that about me.’ And if I can get to them, I can resolve it, but like you said, I’m a busy man. I ain’t got time to get to everybody.”

Smith then told a story about one player confronting him and trying to intimidate him. He told Bomani Jones that he is willing to listen to fair criticism, but no one can intimidate him.

“I remember one cat came up to me and said ‘Man, I don’t like your ass. I can’t stand you. You’re a punk bitch. Blah blah blah blah blah.’ AndI looked at him and I said ‘Can I speak?’. He said ‘Yeah.’ I said ‘I’m glad you said that, cuz I don’t like your punk bitch ass neither. Who the hell you think you’re scaring? Because I did my job? This is what you did. I didn’t get into your personal life. I was talking about the game. Who you think you’re scaring? It ain’t gonna work.’”

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Pedro Martinez: ‘Never Imagined’ TV Career

“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”

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As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.

When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.

“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”

A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.

“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.

“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”

He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.

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Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Malika Andrews

On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.

“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” 

Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.

“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”

Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.

“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”

Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.

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Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”

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Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.

“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.

Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.

“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”

FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.

Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”

He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.

Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.

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