ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made headlines recently when he made comments in relation to Russell Westbrook’s historic 35-point, 21-assist, 14-rebound triple-double on Monday night. While most of the basketball world praised Westbrook for his comments, Smith remained unimpressed and cited Westbrook’s lack of success beyond individual metrics for why it didn’t matter to him.
Both Russell and Nina Westbrook didn’t appreciate Smith’s comments and responded to them through both the media and on social channels. Their response to Smith made sense — he is someone who is known for criticism over praise and they felt that he is too focused on that. Smith heard those comments and used First Take on Wednesday to respond. To summarize his position, while he respects their criticism, he doesn’t care.
Smith used this as a chance to say that he has spent years praising Westbrook’s individual ability, but despite that, he has still “fallen short” and stands by what he said. It’s unsurprising to see Smith double down on his comments, as he’s not exactly known for changing his mind easily.
What was surprising about this in the first place was that Westbrook responded at all. He’s not known for interacting with the media in this way or caring too much about what they have to say about him. So even though Smith doubled down on his comments, it’s hard to believe that Westbrook will get pulled into a lengthy back-and-forth with him. Well, at least not through comments, we may get some more spectacular moments on the basketball floor as a response and that would be a win for everyone.