While commenting on the tenure of New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson on a recent episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith, as he is quite prone to do, lived up to his nickname of “Screaming A.”
Smith’s passionate resentment of Jackson’s decisions reached such a fever pitch that the veins on his neck were visibly bulging for brief moments of his incensed commentary. Smith was simply aghast at how Jackson was running the Knicks and even brought up how in his first ever move in New York the Zen Master signed his former Los Angeles Lakers disciple Lamar Odom.
This was a vastly forgot about signing, since Odom never even played for the Knicks as he couldn’t work himself into shape. But for Smith, the reason, although he says it “metaphorically,” Odom didn’t work out in New York was because he “was on crack.”
First off, you shouldn’t feel guilty for laughing at the hilariousness of Smith’s tirade. It’s funny to see how animated he gets. But it also is very cringe-worthy, especially since this is all taking place on national television. So in essence, this is Smith on national television claiming that Odom was on crack. He is not using any evidence or sources to support his stance. Smith is just simply claiming Odom was on drugs when the Knicks signed him.
The reality is that, while Odom did have a drug problem (whether that was happening when he signed with the Knicks in 2014 is truly debatable and probably unfounded), Smith is trivializing the whole thing by poking fun at the former player’s personal issue. This is why Odom’s attorney issued a statement to ESPN, calling for them to “actively voice their disdain” for Smith’s statement and actions.
Whether ESPN actually disciplines Smith remains to be seen. But clearly, Odom doesn’t find any humor in Smith’s accusations and is not standing for any slander to his character.