Remembering Sekou Smith
NBA family, colleagues pay tribute to Sekou Smith
Tributes pour in for NBA Digital’s Sekou Smith, who touched the lives of many while covering pro basketball.
From NBA Twitter reports
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Sekou Smith:
“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. 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.”
The Turner Sports family mourns the loss of our very own, Sekou Smith.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/97mu4bylfA
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 27, 2021
Turner Sports also issued a heartfelt statement regarding the passing of Smith, who was a staple on its NBA digital, television and audio platforms:
“We are all heartbroken over Sekou’s tragic passing. His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality. He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones.”
Other peers, friends, and members of the NBA family quickly joined the outpouring of affection and mourning.
Stan Van Gundy on the passing of Sekou Smith pic.twitter.com/KGfpreZUdj
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 27, 2021
Sekou was my colleague, and my friend, but most of all he was my brother. I will miss him dearly, but will also remain thankful for all the great times we had together. Love you forever, man. 💙 pic.twitter.com/ap2YizjjPk
— Lang Whitaker (@langwhitaker) 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
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
Sekou Smith was one of my favorite people in the business. Always felt like it was family when we would talk. Always warm, always real… RIP 🙏🏾
— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) January 27, 2021
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
RIP Sekou Smith 🙏🏽
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) January 27, 2021
Sekou was one of the kindest people on this earth, and had the best smile. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe him. Lucky to have had him as a colleague. This is devastating. Sending love and thoughts to his family. https://t.co/xXc2MkSjL3
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) January 26, 2021
Sekou was part of a community that made sure I was taken care of as a cub. Kenny Anderson called him the hip-hop reporter. When I saw how he was received, for being himself, I gave up on khakis and polos. Sekou liberated me. He had a gift for helping you feel free around him
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) January 26, 2021
Simply an honor to know and work alongside @SekouSmithNBA. BELOVED beyond words by his colleagues across the league. This saddest of days only gets sadder and harder. Sending as much warmth and strength as we can muster to his family in this unspeakably difficult time … 💔🙏
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) 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
Sekou was the light of the NBA beat. This is awful news. RIP Sekou
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) January 26, 2021
Thoughtful writer. NBA podcast pioneer. Big brother to anyone who asked. Hilarious. Curious. Welcoming. Gracious. No time for fakery. Loved debate for debate’s sake. Couldn’t go 10 minutes w/o mentioning family. Made his teammates better. As good as it gets. RIP @SekouSmithNBA
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) January 27, 2021
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
My role model. My mentor. My big brother. The first national NBA writer to see something in me and tell me how much I could accomplish. I promise you, I will fulfill everything you saw in me and will always honor your memory. Love you, @SekouSmithNBA. Rest in Heaven. pic.twitter.com/OqnvdOdAFZ
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) January 26, 2021
Steve Kerr "I just heard the news about Sekou Smith and I am just devastated. I know I speak for our entire organization, just crushing news today. Sekou has been a part of the NBA family for a long time … I just want to express our organization's condolences to Sekou's family"
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 27, 2021
We would like to send our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Sekou Smith.
A talented writer, a true proponent of the game of basketball and a wonderful human being. He will be missed.
Rest in peace. https://t.co/KCNkyB0aaz
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 27, 2021
He brought incredible joy and professionalism to his coverage of the NBA. The Thunder offers our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sekou Smith. pic.twitter.com/ydK4TGZnVj
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 27, 2021
The Pistons join the NBA community in mourning the passing of Sekou Smith. For nearly two decades, the Grand Rapids native provided insightful information to audiences across multiple platforms, and brought humor & personality to interviews with our team.
Prayers to his family. https://t.co/LNRPAnZd8B
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) January 27, 2021
Sekou Smith was one of the good ones, y'all. His love and enthusiasm for the game of basketball was unmatched. I loved talkin' hoops with him at NBA TV. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the entire Turner Sports team. This hurts. pic.twitter.com/4hXa1VyJCI
— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) January 26, 2021
No. Hell no.
I spent hundreds of long nights in the bowels of then-Philips Arena with Sekou Smith, and everything you're reading is true. Great writer, even better human: Always upbeat and helpful, loved his Wolverines and his hometown of GRap, and loved his kids even more.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) January 27, 2021
Sekou was the very best. Just an incredibly kind, funny dude. One of the people I most looked forward to running into on the road. Just awful news. Our writing community hurts tonight.
— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) January 26, 2021
I started on the NBA beat about the same time as Sekou. He was a committed friend to, like, everyone. He always made you feel special. And he could talk smack to, like, anyone. So fun and loving. Tremendous person and journalist. A bright light in our profession.
Too much pain. https://t.co/0zZPfzVJs7
— Jerry Brewer (@JerryBrewer) January 27, 2021
2015 Finals, stuck at the Spurs facility waiting for the Heat. I’m by myself, feeling sad, missing my infant son. Sekou came over to check on me. We talked about fatherhood for an hour. A life changing conversation. Absolutely crushed by his passing.
— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) January 26, 2021
Sekou Smith… man …Rest In Peace. He was so positive and a tremendous consistent voice & writer for the NBA & beyond.
He encouraged me to keep my energy. To be myself. To keep my joy. Never to hold it back to please anyone.
I got you. 🙏🏽❤️
— Ros Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) January 26, 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
Tremendous journalist, terrific teammate, remarkable husband, father and friend. A true life force. Our bosses told us today in an urgent, tearful conference call. My head hit my desk. Tragic. Godspeed, my friend. https://t.co/dvkA71ylq2
— Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) 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
Sekou was one of the nicest people I’ve ever gotten to meet. Praying for his family and for so many of his friends who are crushed by this news
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 26, 2021
i remember seeing sekou all the time when i interned at turner in 2016. never treated me like an intern. always treated me like a peer and always encouraged me to keep at it in this business. he was a consummate og. ima miss him.
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) January 26, 2021
Not a kinder, sweeter man have I met. And a damn fine reporter. RIP, Sekou. pic.twitter.com/vIbYkLBFhJ
— Fran Blinebury (@franblinebury) January 27, 2021
Just heard that @SekouSmithNBA passed away from COVID. Devastated at this loss of talent, a friend & colleague, and great person. Hits home even harder because I just fully recovered from COVID myself. I've been saying I dodged a bullet — this drives that point home. RIP brother
— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) January 27, 2021
Lead with kindness. I will miss you, brother. pic.twitter.com/3rNUiaoEHQ
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 26, 2021
A moment of silence for Sekou Smith before tonight's game 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/cjojoYiqa0
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 28, 2021
Reserving a media seat at tonight’s game in loving memory of our friend Sekou Smith. pic.twitter.com/mhM2tFiP8s
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 28, 2021
— Cavs Notes (@CavsNotes) January 27, 2021
Remembering Sekou Smith pic.twitter.com/LReefFDv7E
— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) January 28, 2021