Stephen A. Smith has become the face of sports talk shows in the United States. Smith, who has been a sports correspondent for decades now, has seen great growth in popularity over the last 10 years.
Smith initially got his first big break with ESPN, and then became a panelist for the popular sports talk show 'First Take'. He was paired up with Skip Bayless, who is now with Fox Sports on his own show.
But his tenure with ESPN has allowed him to become one of the most popular figures in the sports world, despite him not being directly involved in any leagues in any capacity.
Smith is a colorful personality, who uses his humorous reactions to sports stories to garner interest in his show. Smith's rants, especially about the New York Knicks, have become popular memes on the internet. Because of his natural charisma and entertaining demeanor, Smith has been a mainstay at ESPN for so long.
And his success has brought about more opportunities for him as time has gone on. Last year, Smith got his own show on ESPN aside from First Take, called 'Stephen A's World'.
The show has been very popular since its conception. And now, Smith has found an opportunity outside of the sports world that is proving to be extremely lucrative.
Stephen A. Smith was the guest host of Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, as he was filling in for the show's namesake host. And it appears the deal runs a lot longer than a guest deal. Apparently, Smith's contract for the same brings him close to $12 million.
And as Instagram page Kicks pointed out in the post above, Smith will earn more from this contract than Zion Williamson will next season with the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion is slated to earn $11 million next season, as he is still on his rookie contract with the Pelicans.
Williamson is a future star in the making and has already earned an All-Star nomination in his career. So his next contract will probably be far more lucrative than Stephen A's contracts with ESPN or ABC.
But the amount of money Smith is earning from his deals is absolutely incredible, and a testament to his popularity in the American media sphere.