Stephen A. Smith has received plenty of criticism after his tribute to Kobe Bryant went viral for the wrong reasons. The ESPN analyst, like the rest of us, remembered the Black Mamba on the second anniversary of his tragic death.
Everybody wanted to express their love to Kobe, his daughter Gianna and the seven other people that died during that fatal helicopter crash. Smith wore a Black Mamba jacket for Wednesday's edition of First Take, honoring Kobe. But, that wasn't the only thing he'd do to remember the 5x NBA champion.
Smith showed a video of Kobe to highlight his qualities. This is completely normal, but Smith twisted everything when he decided to take shots at today's players and compare them to Bryant.
“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 appear on screen, “That was not Kobe Bryant.”
"Players collecting paychecks without regard to regular season participation, that was not Kobe Bryant,” Smith continues, via Complex. “Players prioritizing any and everything but championships, that was not Kobe Bryant.”
What he thought would be welcome with open arms by fans turned out to be a lot of criticism towards the ESPN personality. Fans didn't appreciate that he used the name of Kobe to talk bad about other players, especially those who had a good relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers legend.
This was an unfortunate moment for Stephen A., and fans let him know he was wrong with that. Kobe was a different breed, his mentality was unique, but that doesn't mean he must blast players to bring Kobe's name up. The Black Mamba was a legend and after his retirement, he made sure to help players reach their best level. Some say if he was alive, he would have called out some of these players, but that's not for us or Stephen A. to discuss.