Yes, just as the Big Lead reported this afternoon, Stephen A. Smith's time at ESPN is coming to a close. Where do we go from here?
Stephen A.'s been slowly phased-out of WWL mega-stardom for quite some time now, but it is impossible to not feel a little sadness from this news. The days of his ubiquitous talking headness at the NBA Draft and, of course, his talk show are long gone, but during contract negotiations with ESPN, Stephen A. reportedly would not take any thing less than the very large salary he made when he was IMPORTANT.
And now Stephen A. will move on to the next thing, which may or may not involve anything involving sports, writing, or any of the things that helped him build a ridiculously successful career at being STEPHEN A. SMITH. No, Stephen A.'s an "entertainer" now and his number one priority will be to latch on to a new project that keeps him on camera . But he still wants to write, too, but there aren't very many newspapers out there (or magazines, or websites, or newsletters) that would be able to afford a six-figure columnist.
I did call the number that I've used for Stephen A. in the past, when he used to talk to me when I was at Philly mag, but he didn't answer. I left a message. Just to be sure I called the number again just a few minutes ago. A man, who sounded just like Stephen A., answered with a "Good afternoon," a greeting Stephen A.'s done before.
"Stephen? Stephen A.? Is this Stephen?," I said, just to make sure and be polite.
"No, it's not," the voice said.
"So this is the wrong number?"
"Yeah. Sorry." And he hung up.
I'll try again. He needs to be heard.
Until then, let's look back at man who's brought this site so much joy since its inception.