ESPN senior ranter Stephen Anthony Smith had three-alarm, hair’s-on-fire meltdowns Thursday and Friday on First Take over the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets hiring Great White North Canadian Steve Nash as their new head coach. Smith inferred that in the post-George Floyd world, only black coaches matter. To Smith, the NBA team chose a coach from a hiring pool of privileged white boys.
Smith is miffed that African Americans Sam Cassell, Mark Jackson and Tyronn Lue got passed over for the Brooklyn job.
Throughout out Thursday’s program, Smith insisted he’s happy for Nash, “a sensational dude” with a great basketball IQ (not to mention supreme left-wing credentials!). “Congratulations to him (Nash). He deserves it. I get it. But this ain’t about him. What I’m about to say, ladies and gentlemen, there is no way around this. This is white privilege. This does not happen for a black man,” Smith said:
“Yet again, we find ourselves looking at a situation as black people. You know what? Everything as egregious as it is to kill an unarmed black man and to shoot him and things of that nature, there are a multitude of ways where black folks, particularly black men, have been sliced and diced up and thrown out to pasture.”
Refuting anyone who might suggest merit over race as a hiring criteria for NBA coaching positions, Smith put a new spin on the nature of quotas. He says that the association should have higher quotas of black coaches because most of the players are black. Be careful, Smitty, this would go the other way in a discussion of baseball managers.
Black people feel that “we are marginalized, minimized and demonized and constantly, constantly pigeon-holed and held back to pave the way for white individuals with less experience and less qualifications to get a hand up and get an opportunity that we have to work our entire careers to hope that we get a shot from,” Smith carries on.
“But, damn, in these times with what has been going on in the streets of America and what we’ve been crying for and what have you, to see an opportunity like this not go to one of those qualified African Americans coaching in the NBA. I’m sorry. It is just … I feel a little bit salty about it although I’m very happy for Steve Nash.”
Pro football and basketball need centralized hiring standards, Smith says. Because no matter what black coaching candidates do, the owners (the race-sensitive NBA prefers the word “governors”) bypass rules concerning minority hiring and opt for the white guy. “Damn!” Smith exploded.
Former NBA player Richard Jefferson, who is black, joined the First Take crew in the second hour to address Nash’s hiring. He told Smith he feels his pain, but sometimes hiring is about basketball. Jefferson pointed to Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago as NBA teams with current openings for head coach. He told Smith that by bringing the Nash hiring back to race, “I think that that is a bit unfair.”
Smith returned to the Nash topic on Friday’s First Take program and said he didn’t care what his critics thought about his Thursday remarks. “Y’all can kick rocks! I don’t give a damn what y’all feel. I’m not budgin’ from my position one inch. I called it white privilege yesterday. I’m callin’ it white privilege today. I’m callin’ it white privilege a month from now, a year from now, five years from now.”
The senior ranter wanted to know which “brothers” got interviewed by the Nets, and said “brothers” with no resume don’t get the opportunities Nash did without a coaching resume. In a time of systemic racism. Smith promised to continue reminding people, on TV and radio, “how rules are always different for us! I ain’t flinchin’ one damn bit and I ain’t playin’.”