NBA

Stephen A. Smith Responds to Steve Nash: “I don’t back up from what I said one bit.”

Feb 14, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Team Stephen A. coach Stephen A. Smith gestures during lineup introductions before the NBA All Star-Celebrity Game at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

After the Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash last week — a Hall of Fame point guard with no coaching experience — ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said white privilege earned Nash the position over other qualified black coaches.

Smith’s comments sparked controversy from several prominent figures, most notably former player Charles Barkley.

While Steve Nash admitted to being a beneficiary of white privilege in other facets of life, Nash said it was his illustrious playing career that allowed him to ‘skip the line’ and become a head coach with no experience.

Many would agree with Nash on this. He enjoyed an 18-year career where he captured two MVP’s and retired third all-time in career assists.

Another factor that possibly played a role in Nash’s hiring was his relationship with Nets’ star Kevin Durant. During Durant’s time in Golden State, Nash served as a consultant for the Warriors, where the two developed a strong bond.

Smith discussed the topic this morning on his show First Take. He acknowledged Nash’s statement, but told viewers, “I don’t back up from what I said one bit. I meant every damn word of what I said.” 

Smith went on to elaborate: “We know what Steve Nash has brought to the table; we know how phenomenal he has been. But the reality is that it wasn’t about him. It’s about the fact that anybody with his resume that happened to be black would never have had this opportunity.”

Smith’s statements are undoubtedly controversial, but it’s clear that he’s passionate about his position on the topic. In the meantime, Nash and the Nets will get to work in preparation for the 2020-21 NBA season.

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