Tributes poured in for Sekou Smith on Tuesday night after the longtime NBA media member reportedly died of COVID-19 complications. He was 48.
Smith worked for Turner Broadcasting, where he appeared on NBA TV and hosted The Hang Time Podcast. He also contributed regularly to NBA.com.
“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,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him and it always shined through in his work.”
Before working for Turner, Smith covered the NBA for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Indianapolis Star. He started his journalism career with the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss.
“Sekou Smith was the very best of us,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Added Shams Charania of The Athletic: “Hard to process. An impeccable human being. Rest In Peace, Sekou Smith.”
Turner Sports released a statement that read, “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.”
Although Smith reported from a national perspective, he drew admiration from beat reporters across the league. Longtime Chicago Bulls reporter K.C. Johnson was among many who praised Smith’s character.
“Joining chorus of colleagues stunned and deeply saddened by the passing of Sekou Smith,” Johnson wrote. “Beyond his distinguished work, including his stint with Turner Sports, Smith was one of the kindest, most generous people on the NBA beat. And what a laugh. RIP, Sekou. You’ll be missed dearly.”
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