Longtime NBA reporter and analyst Sekou Smith died on Tuesday.
Smith worked for the Clarion-Ledger and wrote for the Indianapolis Star and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks after graduating from Jackson State University in 1997. He joined Turner Sports in 2009, where he worked as a reporter and an analyst for NBA.com and NBA TV.
He was a mainstay on NBA TV’s studio show “Game Time” and “The Beat.” He was also the host and creator of NBA.com’s “Hang Time” podcast and blog. His last podcast appearance was on Jan. 11.
He is survived by his wife, Heather, and children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Sekou Smith pic.twitter.com/QyII7bcuXZ
— NBA (@NBA) January 27, 2021
Tributes pour in upon news of Smith’s death
Beloved in the NBA and sports media community, Smith was remembered fondly upon the news of his death.
What I’d give for one more bike ride in the bubble with you brother. Along with @THE_Morgann, @MarcJSpears and John Scott, we bonded like never before. @SekouSmithNBA fell a few times, but he got up and kept riding. Now he’s riding up high. Rest easy big brother. Love you. pic.twitter.com/dRbbBCpseP
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 27, 2021
Sekou was good to me for no reason. He welcomed me into the fraternity of beat writers when I was very young and very green. We could talk about Michigan football, the league, life, anything. I’ll miss him dearly. Tough day, man
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) January 26, 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
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 grappled with this today with tears running down my face. Sekou Smith was my friend. I lost my friend. We worked together and alongside each other. He made every minute you were with him better. Every minute. Prayers, peace and love to his family. I love you man. #SEKOUSTRONG
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) January 26, 2021
Heavy heart today..We lost a good brother to Covid.
Sekou Smith of @NBATV and https://t.co/dyMHCgGy2q was a brilliant and insightful writer,a positive dude.
He’s gone home to be with the Lord. 🙏🏽
Philippians 4:4 pic.twitter.com/Yw5xvwZ51g
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) January 26, 2021
— NABJSports (@NABJSports) January 26, 2021
Stan Van Gundy on the passing of Sekou Smith pic.twitter.com/KGfpreZUdj
Sekou Smith was a great man - a terrific reporter who was always so positive. One of the funniest story tellers you’d ever meet. I loved being able to call him a friend. Can’t believe he’s gone. Thoughts are with his family, who he took so much pride in. https://t.co/oYyiOWVBWT
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) January 27, 2021
Today we lost one of our good brothers “ Sekou Smith.” We just spoke to him 2 weeks ago about doing our HBCU symposium in his hometown Grand Rapids Michigan. He was extremely excited! He attended Jackson State!
For 2 decades he was a staple in the NBA for writing contest! pic.twitter.com/j8D7cWF0OL
— Unit 1 Hoop Source (@Unit1HoopSource) January 26, 2021
Sekou Smith was one of the first NABJ-ers to take me under his wing and make me feel like I belonged. He pushed to bring the best out of young reporters, was a fierce advocate of diversity in journalism — and did it with a smile on his face. A pro. Our friend. He is missed.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 27, 2021
I'm so sorry to hear this. Sekou helped me organize my first NFL feature on the road when he was working in Mississippi. I was at county cable TV back then. He didn't hesitate to assist. Sweet man & even better spirit. From the terrestrial to the celestial. Rest in Power Sekou. https://t.co/0yqBVNTWR2
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 26, 2021
Sekou Smith was kind and welcoming for no reason at all, the type of person who made you happier just to be around. My thoughts are with his family on this heartbreaking day. It’s just so hard to process that he is gone. It was an honor to have known him.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 27, 2021
Sekou Smith was one of the kindest souls you could ever meet. Always willing to share his time with any that asked. So sad. He’ll be sorely missed. Condolences. May he RIP 🙏🏽
— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) January 26, 2021
This loss hits hard. I like to think I'm cool with a lot of people in the business but I'd only call a handful my brother. Sekou was a brother. I sent him a checking-in text 2 weeks ago, just to see how he was doing in all the madness. I never heard back & never will. I'm hurting
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 27, 2021
Sekou Smith was my brother from another. We bonded from day 1, mostly because he bonded with everybody from day 1. I’m absolutely gutted, especially for his wife, his kids & his pops. I can’t describe how much his friendship will be missed.
I love you, brother. pic.twitter.com/ihV9CXlgoY
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 27, 2021
Hard to process. An impeccable human being. Rest In Peace, Sekou Smith. pic.twitter.com/7MwOMyOAB3
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 26, 2021
Sekou was the light of the NBA beat. This is awful news. RIP Sekou
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) January 26, 2021
I had Sekou on the radio show countless times over the years. Spent time with him in arenas. He was always a pleasure, always so kind. Every COVID death is awful. But Sekou was a young and universally liked guy. So this one really stings. RIP. https://t.co/CD3bGGqEsq
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) January 26, 2021
Sekou, I thank God for sharing you with us. The way you spoke about the love of your family, career and friends is always something I will admire. Thank you for always being there for me. The joy you brought to the world and our 🚲crew was beautiful and amazing. Fly high 💔🕊 pic.twitter.com/WolLcxvjTo
— Morgann Mitchell (@THE_Morgann) January 26, 2021
There are certain people you meet on the NBA beat that make you feel as if you have a friend in a city you may be in just once a year. That was @SekouSmithNBA. He always made me feel welcome in Atlanta and always kept in touch. I’m beyond heartbroken I won’t see his smile again. pic.twitter.com/gn0TklLnGz
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 26, 2021
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