This Thursday's NBA draft coverage on ESPN will not have Stephen A. Smith seated up front this year, instead they've relegated him to draftee-interviewing duties, an assignment the Miami Herald says, "he handled capably and calmly after the Celtics won the championship Tuesday."

Instead, ESPN will go with a draft-dissecting foursome of Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Jay Bilas and host Stuart Scott. As you recall, it's been a rocky couple years for Stephen A's loudmouth brand— he's lost a newspaper column, a radio hosting gig, and a television show (but gained a blog) in seemingly rapid fire procession.


Most upset by the decision to keep Stephen A off the ESPN's NBA draft coverage main set? Why the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society Of Gentlemen, of course. Here is their official statement:

We join much of America in decrying ESPN's decision not to use Stephen A. Smith in its main draft coverage this year. Quite frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves. "Style over substance?" What it this, PBS?

We wish to assure the American public that, barring the unforeseen, Stephen A. will be a force this year, both in spirit and in puppet.

- The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen

ESPN Picks Style Over Substance For This NBA Draft [Miami Herald]
The Stephen A. Hecklers Return [Deadspin]