I’m sure many Raptors’ fans right now are wondering what the “A” stands for in Stephen A. Smith’s name. And if they don’t know … they’re coming up with their own words and theories, no doubt. But here’s my take on things …
The two most ‘inflammatory’ comments from Smith were: (a) calling Bosh
and the Raptors
“soft”. He said they’re like “Cottonelle”. And, (b) Chris looks like “a skinny Manute Bol with dreadlocks” Let’s deal with these two comments separately.
First of all, I have no problem with Smith calling the Raptors
“soft”. I guess it all depends on your definition of the word - at least as it pertains to a basketball team or player. But I think many people - from coaches, to media, to fans have said that Toronto needs to get tougher; they need to have more tenacity and attitude on both ends of the floor. If that loosely translates to them being “soft” … then … so be it.
Personally, I believe Bosh
is one of the tougher players the Raptors
have … in that he does go down low; he is one of the few guys that rebounds the basketball; and despite constant double and triple teams … he still manages to put up 20-25-30 points each night and burn defenders with his versatility time and time again.
But does the team need to get tougher? Yes. So, chalk one up for Stephen A. (or at least … half of one).
However, his second comment - about Bosh’s hair and his figure - is completely bogus and out of line.
The media has become more about “entertainment” than journalism; I’ll be the first to admit that. You have to engage the audience in TV and radio. Lines are crossed all of the time - between what the “story” truly is … versus what will actually “sell”.
But personal attacks on somebody’s appearance show a lack of respect and integrity. They show a lack of knowledge and insight. In my opinion, Stephen A. just tainted the industry.
If you want to talk about Bosh’s game; how good or bad he is as a player … fine. But on a national outlet like ESPN … what difference does it make if Chris Bosh
looks like Manute Bol (which he doesn’t) or what kind of hairstyle he wears?
As a guy that didn’t play or coach in the NBA, I know I have my critics. Some people like the work I do; some people don’t like the work I do. But I can tell you … I work my butt off to stay on top of stories; to talk to coaches, scouts, players, and management types … so that I stay on top of the “news”. I’m always learning.
My analysis on the FAN 590 broadcasts and insight is based on gaining knowledge of what is expected versus what the final outcome actually is. I can tell you why a play did or didn’t work. I can tell you if somebody was in the right or wrong place. I can talk about different defensive plays or match-ups, or weigh-in on why I think a coach did or didn’t play a guy a certain time of the game. Again, some like the work I do … some don’t.
But what kind of broadcaster would I be ... and what kind of respect would I have from the viewers and listeners if I simply went on the air and talked about (for example) how bushy somebody's beard is ... or how unattractive a certain player may be
That’s not basketball. That’s not analysis. That’s JUVENILE.
Stephen A. just set guys like me back a few pegs for his immaturity and his poor attempt at “humor”. In fact, he set us all back. Because … even if that had been a “former player” or “former coach” to make that comment … it still wouldn’t make what was said any better. It would still be lame and in bad taste.
And the sad thing is … we’re talking about THIS … instead of GAME ONE!