Friday, June 21, 2024

Stephen A. Smith on Reaching a ‘Tipping Point’ at ESPN: ‘I Can’t Do This’ (Video)

Stephen A. Smith
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 08: Stephen A. Smith attends a playoff basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Crypto.com Arena on May 08, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

*Even Stephen A. Smith has a breaking point.

The ubiquitous ESPN personality has duties that extend far beyond his primary gig on “First Take,” and those other appearances – often from sunup to sundown, seven days a week during basketball season – has finally taken a toll.

“The tipping point for the first time arrived this year,” Smith told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons on his podcast Wednesday. “I’m not one of those guys, Bill, where it’s ‘SportsCenter,’ it’s ‘[NBA] Countdown,’ it’s ‘First Take’ — that doesn’t phase me at all. I can do those things and it’s not a problem. It’s the time in between.”

Smith said he was being stretched thin beginning his day at 7 a.m. and remaining on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus until midnight on game nights.

“You’re sitting around for like four or five hours to do three minutes of television after you were all on television all morning and start of the afternoon,” Smith said. “That was too much. And for the first time in my career, I went to the bosses and I was like, ‘Yo, I can’t do this. Not this. For the first time in my career, it was like… I can’t do this again. Not this. I could, you know – ‘SportsCenter,’ ‘First Take’ – that’s a given. But to spend so many hours in the afternoon after spending so many hours in the morning on a job, that was the tipping point for me.”

Smith said his jam-packed days also caused problems at home, where his daughters didn’t get enough of his attention.

“You know my daughters jumped all up in me and they were like, wait a minute now,” he said, “‘Where you at? We usually go out to dinner, you know? Where you been? What about our movie dates?’”

Smith decided he had to fall back a bit and “take out some time for me,” which he has every intention of doing this upcoming NBA season.

Watch more from Smith’s appearance on Simmons’ podcast below:

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