Stephen A. Smith Criticizes ESPN After Negative Magic Johnson Story [VIDEO]

Stephen A. Smith Criticizes ESPN After Negative Magic Johnson Story [VIDEO]

The “First Take” co-host, Stephen A. Smith had a lot to get off his chest on his radio show this week, in the aftermath of an ESPN.com story detailing former employees displeasure working under Lakers Legend and former President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson. In a video, the sports television personality becomes visibly upset, taking aim at his own network for publishing the report on the same day he was set to host an NBA Finals special that Magic is slated to take part in. He says,

“I am forced to address yet the latest story about the dysfunctional franchise known as the Los Angeles Lakers… I got better things to do with my damn time — better things to do.”

“I wake up this morning, minding my own damn business, getting set to do my job, and talk about these NBA Finals… but obviously, I’d have to take a moment because ESPN.com decides to come out with a story on the day that Magic and the crew will be here.”

As one of the top personalities for the ESPN network, Smith, 51, also addressed the journalist who wrote the story, giving him high praise for doing his job.

“A story comes out, Baxter Holmes, reporter, senior writer on the NBA for ESPN — by the way, does an outstanding job, and did an outstanding job with this story. There’s nothing missing here. But he wrote this big exposé, working on it for two years. And there’s a lot to deduce from it because we don’t want to take away from his work. He did his job. Do I like the fact that I have to deal with it today? Hell no. I’m quite annoyed by it. That’s neither here nor there. I’m a big boy. I can take it.”

He continues asking viewers to read the report while also mocking its importance.

“It’s very, very important. I mean, it’s the cover of ESPN.com, it’s a big deal, right?! Go ahead and look at it — ESPN.com. Let’s make sure we mention that. It’s right there. Let’s make sure we mention that. ESPN.com. Go read the story.”

After learning about the negative report detailing several current and former Lakers employees who feared the 5-time Lakers legend, Magic responded saying,


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“Jeanie knows the truth, because if I had disrespected somebody, she would have called me in her office, and that never happened.”

Magic continues sharing that there are several employees who he has made sure to hold accountable for their actions.

“Now, a lot of Laker employees didn’t like that I held them accountable. That’s what my job was. Did I have to fire some people? Yes, because we had to bring about change and get better.”

As previously reported, Smith and Magic had an explosive interview last week with the Lakers legend opening up on what made him suddenly step away from his front office position. He tells Smith,

The straw that broke the camel’s back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton. I showed her the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well. I said, listen, we got to get a better coach. First day, well, let’s think about it. Second day, OK, you can fire him. Then the next day, no, we should try to work it out.”

He added,

“Other people didn’t bother me, what happened was I wasn’t having fun coming to work anymore, especially when I got to work beside you, knowing that you want my position.”

Authored by: Gregory Molette