January 26, 2022, marked the second anniversary of the helicopter crash that took the lives of 9 people including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. The day was filled with tributes to Kobe, Gianna, and the others that were lost in the accident. However, Stephen A. Smith was criticized for his Kobe Bryant tribute due to him using the tribute to criticize other players.
During the tribute, images of current players were shown with Smith giving his commentary. “Players missing games for reasons that have nothing to do with injury,” Stephen A. says in the clip, as footage of Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving are shown. “That was not Kobe Bryant.”
“Players collecting paychecks without regard to regular season participation, that was not Kobe Bryant,” Smith continues. “Players prioritizing any and everything but championships, that was not Kobe Bryant.”
Shortly after the tribute aired many thought that it was “inappropriate” for Stephen A. Smith to use the tribute to diss other basketball players. People thought that SAS could have criticized the players without using the tribute or could have uplifted Kobe and his legacy without bringing up the players that SAS has a problem with.
Check out some of the reactions below.