Longtime NBA writer Sekou Smith, known for his basketball insight and friendly demeanor, died Tuesday of COVID-19. He was 48 years old.
Smith began covering the NBA and the Indiana Pacers in 2001 for The Indianapolis Star and moved south to cover the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 2005-2009. Turner Sports hired him in 2009, and he wrote about the league for NBA.com and provided analysis on NBA TV.
A graduate of Jackson State, Smith also worked at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.
“The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said a in statement. “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.”
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
Smith blossomed with his role at NBA.com and NBA TV where he had a significant presence and following.
Smith, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Wolverines fan, had a passion for sports and basketball and the NBA in particular. Behind the easygoing demeanor, Smith pushed to tell NBA stories with clarity and insight.
“His impact will be felt forever because of the way he was a man,” Turner Sports colleague and friend Steve Smith, a former NBA player, said during an on-air tribute.
The outpouring of condolences spread deep and wide, from his close friends on the NBA beat to the players and coaches he covered, such Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr.
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
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 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
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