The day after the tragicomic New York Knicks were denied the opportunity to draft Zion Williamson, a nation alternately laughing at more Knicks misery and consoling those who got their hopes up turned their eyes to the cranky bard of Knicks angst: Stephen A. Smith.
The ESPN loudmouth was up to the task. Smith’s running performance over the past 24 or so hours has been an incredible display of showmanship, pathos, and bravado worthy of pro wrestling.
Act I: Smith comes to us from somewhere very dark, half an hour after the Pelicans have won the lottery. “What do the Knicks have? What do the Knicks have?!” He alternates between resigned disgust and volcanic outrage, leaving the audience waiting for the next chapter, which he promises to unleash the next day.
Act II: Smith took center stage on Get Up this morning and held court for roughly seven minutes, only ending his tirade when he’d released all his frustrations and exited stage right. Mike Greenberg couldn’t get in his way, Sean Farnham couldn’t talk him down, and all Damon Jones could do was revel in the spectacle.
Smith went through the Kübler-Ross model in the span of this segment.
Act III: The fire-and-brimstone conclusion, and Smith’s purest performance. He’s no longer on a set, or filming himself inside of a car. This is his purest, most truthful state, monologuing into a microphone. He has unraveled. Stephen A. Smith is having a very bad day. Losing out on Zion Williamson has sent Smith into a spiral of madness from which that damn Mark Tatum, that damn Bomani Jones, not even that damn Pablo Torre can get him out of. He has touched the void, and there is no return.