Longtime NBA reporter and analyst Sekou Smith died on Tuesday due to COVID-19.
The last 11 years Smith worked for Turner Sports, specifically with NBA-TV and wrote for NBA.com. Smith spent 20 years covering the NBA.
In 1994, Smith started his career in Jackson, Mississippi at The Clarion-Ledger. Then, he spent four years with The Indianapolis Star. Then, he moved to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before ultimately joining Turner Sports in 2009.
Commissioner Adam Silver released a thoughtful statement following the news of Smith’s passing.
“The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family. Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league,” Silver said. “He covered the game for more than two decades, including the past 11 years with Turner Sports, where he showed his full range of skills as an engaging television analyst, podcast host and writer. Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him and it always shined through in his work. Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife, Heather, and their children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.”
Of course, Tuesday was also the anniversary of the day Kobe Bryant died last year. So, obviously it was already heavy day for the NBA. Smith’s death certainly added to the somber mood across the association.
Players, coaches, teams, media members and organizations all shared their thoughts on social media.
Man today just got a little heavier… my condolences to Sekou’s wife, family, friends, and extended NBA family. What a kind and compassionate man we just lost. 🙏🏾🕊
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 27, 2021
I’ve never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith. Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven🖤 https://t.co/yszgMXpfo1
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 27, 2021
Steve Kerr: “I just heard the news about Sekou Smith. I’m just devastated. Crushing news. Sekou has been part of the NBA family for a long time…Just another awful day and we’re all so saddened.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 27, 2021
The NBA community lost a great man today in Sekou Smith. While I’ve known him since he was with the AJC but was lucky to work with him at NBA TV. I got to know him well enough to know 3 things — I was lucky to spend time with him, I wanted to know him better and he was a good man
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) January 27, 2021
Stan Van Gundy on the passing of Sekou Smith pic.twitter.com/KGfpreZUdj
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 27, 2021
The Hawks organization is heartbroken by the passing of Sekou Smith. The Hawks’ beat writer for the AJC from 05-09, Sekou provided our fans with honest & fair coverage, sharing incredible insight on the team while establishing himself as one of the NBA’s top personalities. pic.twitter.com/vt2Dtt862K
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 27, 2021
We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sekou Smith. pic.twitter.com/3eX6Y08nXW
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 27, 2021
“He touched a lot of people with not just his talents as a writer, as an analyst, as a broadcaster, but as a human being.”@MattWinerTV, @realgranthill33 and @Candace_Parker pay tribute to our very own Sekou Smith. pic.twitter.com/MsXQnsbQtH
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 27, 2021
Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Unflinching. Full of good. A lot of days and nights on the road with him – Bubble, Finals, Olympics, wherever – and always this: Photos of his kids playing ball, or graduating, or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 27, 2021
I’ve known Sekou Smith since I was 20 years old. Never forget the day we met. We were both interns at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and we met filling out our paperwork. We clicked right away and a great friendship was born. I’m glad he’s at peace, but this absolutely hurts.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 27, 2021
Thank you for your brotherly friendship, humor, honesty and compassion. Glad we had a chance to tell each other we loved each other three weeks ago. You were a gift to this Earth as a friend, father and a man Sekou Smith. Rest In Peace to my brother. Prayers to your wife & family pic.twitter.com/mqjnZyEHNz
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) January 26, 2021
— NABJSports (@NABJSports) January 26, 2021
Our members are devastated by the passing of our beloved friend and trusted colleague Sekou Smith. He was a kind, caring person and a tremendous journalist. We love you, Sekou. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his co-workers at Turner Sports.
— The PBWA (@ProHoopsWriters) January 26, 2021