30 June 2008
If you watch ESPN ever so often, then you are well versed in Stephen A Smith
. For those who know him, feel free to skip the video below and paragraph below
Stephen A on a typical tirade
Smith came to ESPN in 2005 and was tabbed as a rising star in sports broadcasting with columns with the Philadelphia Inquirer, his own national radio show, his own show "Quite Frankly" on ESPN, as well as appareances on a variety of other ESPN shows. He covered a variety of sports, but his bread and butter was basketball.
There was one problem though, Stephen A Smith earned the repuation "Screaming A Smith" as he always seemed outrage, agitated, and on the verge of major stroke. He bashed anything and everything and the schtick grew thin. Some enjoyed it but most including myself hated him.
Slowly he started coming back to Earth. His radio show and weekly column ended, Quite Frankly got canceled, and ESPN seemed to be limiting his role in NBA coverage. I am sure this didn't sit well Mr. Smith, but the real dagger came when ESPN removed him from the stage of this past NBA draft and relegated him to interviewing draft picks on the side. Smith had spent the past 2 years as one of key analysts of the draft.
Smith's demotion and general angry demeanor has been the talk of the sports blogoshpere for quite awhile, but recently I came across the organization known as Stephen A Smith Heckling Society of Gentleman that I wanted to share.
The backstory is short and sweet. A couple of buddies,
/ loud mouth wise asses (that's a compliment), attended the 2006 NBA draft and videotaped various exchanges with Stephen A Smith. In particular they poked fun of the fact that Smith ate a copious amount of Cheese Doodles when off camera. Their jeers and impressions of Smith were ridiculously on target and quickly became a viral hit on youtube.
The following year, the same tandem guys (sobriety again in question), returned to the draft and once again jeered Smith. This time they added a new twist by chasing after players, pretending that a on camera sock puppet was Smith. The sock impersonating Smith was actually slapped by Joahkim Noah and was extremely affective and entertaining with numerous cliche sound bites like "I am Stephen A Smith, and everything I say is important" "Quite Frankly...." "HowEVER....".
Oblivious to internet phenomena mocking him, Smith served up a gem by going on a tirade on his National radio show touting his love of Cheese Doodles. Once again the Stephen A Smith Heckling Society of Gentleman produced another classic youtube video.
With three popular videos produced, the guys once again took to it to mock one of the most annoying sports personality since Dennis Miller. Below are their efforts
All of the above is just another great and comedic example of web2.0/social media's impact on traditional media. Tired of Smith, the two friends took a silly day at the draft and grew it to an internet phenomen. Smith has been demoted multiple times while the videos above have garnered almost a million views as well acknowledgements by Tony Kornheiser and Kevin Love.
While its hard to say that these videos played a role in Smith's plight back to earth, social media serves more and more as the first line into emerging trends, opininons, movements, etc. These videos served as the centerpiece of the anti Smith general opinion that has relegated to a second tier ESPN personality. Their popularity only confirmed what most viewers and maybe even the ESPN brass already suspected :
Stephen A Smith needed to be taken down a peg or two and more importantly should seek therapy.
Props to the guys who have made it a priority in their lives to lead this movement. Also good to see they haven't tried to monetize their viral hit, but have rather decided to plug a very worthy cause.