Stephen A. Smith had to work hard to become the extraordinary figure he is now, making a few sacrifices that favored his career while earning a few enemies. It’s not as if things have changed now, as he is currently involved in a conflict with Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
The controversial ESPN analyst is not new to that kind of conflict. At the time, when he still worked in Philadelphia, Smith found himself in a difficult position. He had a good relationship with the Sixers legend, Allen Iverson, but things changed after he wrote a less flattering piece about the combo guard.
Subsequently, the relationship with AI changed and Smith was prepared to resolve this issue one way or another.
Stephen A. Smith was recently on JJ Redrick’s podcast The Old Man and the Three and shared that after he heard about Iverson putting his hands on him, he went to Atlanta to find him and take care of things.
He talked about the biggest regrets of his career, and after recalling the fight he had with Glenn Robinson, he talked about the Iverson situation.
“It’s hard to admit this as an objective observer, journalist, or commentator, but I love Allen Iverson. He’s like a little brother to me. And covering him, being an African-American man from the streets of New York, knowing his story and everything he endured, we went through a lot together covering him,” said Smith.
“I don’t believe I’m sitting here in this position today if it were not for Allen Iverson. When he was a star in this league, one could easily argue that Michael Jordan was the only person more popular than him. That’s how popular Allen Iverson was. He didn’t always do the right things, and sometimes that stuff was hard to write, and I didn’t say, and I didn’t write, but sometimes he left you no choice.”
Smith shared a story about Allen Iverson being away from the Sixers and was supposed to be with his family. Unfortunately, a video surfaced of Iverson partying and giving an alternative narrative of what Smith had shared with his editor.
Stephen A’s then editor told him to write the new piece or they and their team would take care of it. That was the start of that two-year dispute.
Smith would meet up with Iverson and sort out their dispute, and that is when the former MVP revealed his Smith’s name on the bylines hurt him, not the article itself.
“I went down to Atlanta looking for him, and I had a few boys with me. I went down there looking for him, and I found him, and we met up, and it wasn’t any of that. He said, ‘man, I don’t care about the article. It’s that it came from you,” Smith said.
“And when he said that, I felt this small, because I got it, I didn’t know. He has a job as a player, I have a job as a reporter, and that was it. I’m here thinking he had a problem with the story, he had no problem with the story. He said, ‘I deal with that every day, it’s the fact that your name was on the byline’. And I really didn’t say much, but when I saw the hurt in his eyes, the story wasn’t worth it to me.”