A native of Hollis, Queens, who built his foundation as a journalist over the course of 14 years in New York and Philadelphia, Stephen A. Smith, once widely recognized as one of the most popular voices on ESPN, is still one of the preeminent voices in the African-American Community.
After graduating from Winston-Salem State University, Smith’s journalism career began as a high school sportswriter at the New York Daily News in the summer of 1993.
Just 14 months later, he departed to cover college basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer. As the years went by, Smith rose in the journalism profession, covering everything from college basketball and football at Temple University, to national college basketball and football, and ultimately the National Basketball Association, his dream job. After four years as a beat writer on the Philadelphia 76ers, he became an NBA Columnist in 2001. By March 2003, Smith was promoted to General Sports Columnist, becoming one of only 21 African-Americans in the nation to hold such a title at that time.
Smith’s career at ESPN began just seven months later when the worldwide leader hired him away from Fox SportsNet’s Best Damn Sports Show, Period! to become an analyst/insider on its premier basketball show, NBA Shootaround. Since then, Smith’s demonstrative, informative, in-your-face style — accentuated with a perspective rarely seen or heard in mainstream media — has invaded the airwaves on NBA Shootaround, SportsCenter, ESPNews and when he hosted his own talk show, Quite Frankly (August 2005-January 2007), easily making him one of the most thought-provoking, yet polarizing figures in all of sports. Smith also hosted his own weekday radio show on 1050 ESPN in New York; due to its success, the show was picked up nationwide.
The sky is the limit as far as Smith is concerned. The future holds no boundaries. While Smith loves covering the NBA, which will always be his passion, he also enjoys talking politics and prides himself on having a political conscience. He still aspires to host his own morning or late-night television show again in the near future.
“I don’t want it to stop there,” Smith says. “My aspiration is to talk beyond sports, to use sports as a venue to talk about what really matters to so many people out there. I want the world, not just the sports world.”
Michael Jordan once had a commercial chronicling all of his failures before declaring, "That is why I succeed." Kobe Bryant did also, ending his commercial by simply saying "Thank You" to all the doubters.
From heart-wrenching defeats to capturing glory, rarely is anyone faced with adversity more than the modern-day athlete. True champions have learned not only to overcome their adversities, but to use them as a tool.
From his roots in Hollis to covering some of the biggest names on Planet Earth, Stephen uses his life experiences and sports-as-life references to offer his perspective on how to keep your head in the game using courage, determination and patience so you too can use adversity to your benefit.
Stephen’s career has allowed him to be up close and personal with great leaders, and he has learned firsthand and through interviews about trials and tribulations on the road to great leadership.
Leadership is now more important than ever, and Stephen’s anecdotes will enthrall, entertain and educate as he talks about goal setting, motivation, tough decision making and inspiration.
What is the right-thing to do when the lines of ethics are increasingly blurred? Being the best, the first, having more power, money enables those on the way up to be filled with praise, big paydays, and role model status.
But the headlines are filled with fall from grace story lines all the time. Is there a new model for success, or do we just have more access to information?
From sportsmanship to gambling, steroid use to point shaving, Stephen has seen and covered a wide spectrum of ethical issues both on the field and off…and interviewed a lot of the major players. Stephen uses this unique insight to offer perspective on today’s current events, politics and youth. This engaging presentation will make you think and feel about ethical decisions in a new way.
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