One of the Worldwide Leader’s most popular and polarizing personalities is staying put. Stephen A. Smith, who joined ESPN in 2003 as an NBA analyst and reporter, has re-upped with the sports network in a multi-year deal.
A featured commentator on ESPN2’s daily debate program First Take, Smith will continue to appear regularly on the mothership’s signature SportsCenter and on numerous other programs and platforms. He also hosts The Stephen A. Smith Show, a weekday program on SiriusXM radio.
“Stephen A. is one of the strongest and most distinct voices in sports commentary today, and he will continue to enliven a wide variety of ESPN television and audio offerings with his thought-provoking takes on the news of the day and topical issues where sports and culture intersect,” said John Wildhack, EVP Programming and Production at ESPN.
Smith found himself in hot water with his bosses last year over his comments about the NFL’s Ray Rice situation. The remarks touched of a maelstrom of criticism on social and traditional media, leading to him apologizing on camera. ESPN suspended him for a week.