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Jason Whitlock Says Stephen A. Smith's College Basketball Career is a Lie

Jason Whitlock: "This was Stephen A. Smith in November of 2022. He's caught off-guard because ESPN producers have cooked up a humorous segment making fun of Stephen A's college basketball career that he's talked about for years, compared to Jalen Rose and JJ Redick."
Stephen A. Smith responding to an ESPN graphic saying he only averaged 1.5 points on the Winston-Salem State basketball team: "What they're not telling you is that I only played in one game because I cracked my kneecap in half, but that's neither here nor there."
Jason Whitlock: “The man is on TV saying he only averaged 1.5 points per game in college because he 'only played one game that season'... You can't score 1.5 points in one game, it's an impossibility. It's a lie, and we've wondered 'why would he do that?'... There is a stat-sheet from the ‘90-’91 season that lists a ‘Stephen Smith’ as having played nine games for that Winston-Salem State team. Why would the stat-sheet say ‘Stephen Smith’ played nine games, and Stephen A. Smith be on TV saying he only played one game? It just doesn’t add up. ‘OH, IT’S JUST A SLIP! HE WAS JUST CONFUSED!’... It doesn’t make sense. Who is confused? Particularly someone who has made such a big deal about their college basketball experience. This ‘cracked knee’, and playing for ‘Big House' Gaines -- it doesn’t add up. ‘Stephen Smith’ is on the stat-sheet for nine games, but this guy is on TV saying he played one game and averaged 1.5 points. Then Stephen A. turns around eight, nine months later in August of 2023, goes on his podcast, and disavows everything, and says he didn’t play ANY games... 

Stephen A. Smith: “Let’s get the basketball stuff out of the way. I’m sick and tired of people lying about my basketball resume. Ladies and gentlemen, when I say that I ‘wasn’t great’, I’m talking about compared to greatness. I was good enough to get a basketball scholarship. I was good enough to get my education paid for. WITH two bad knees. They talk about I ‘averaged 1.5 points a game’, I saw some article on social media. THAT’S A LIE. It was LESS. It’s a LIE, how about ZERO because I never played because I cracked my kneecap in half. I got operated on at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My momma was by my bedside. My sisters came to see me. They said I’d never walk straight again. My bone cracked in half my first year at Winston-Salem State. I still have those knee pains to this very day in the knee that still has a six-inch screw in it that I never took out, and in the left knee because I spent years over-compensating for the pain in the right knee. You didn’t know that, DID YOU? You wanted to sit there and think I just rode the bench and I couldn’t play. Ask people who played against me if I could play.” 

Whitlock: “Look at your knee right now if you’re listening to this and perhaps get out a ruler or something to measure with... Most people’s knees can’t handle a six-inch screw; their knee is just not big enough. Stephen A. is 150-160 pounds, 6’1”, he’s really thin. But he’s got a ‘six-inch screw’ in his knee? Go look, I think there’s a 2017 video of he and James Harden shooting hoops on an NBA court. Go look at the way Stephen A. Smith is moving around as he throws up all these bricks. He’s unguarded, throwing up all these bricks and James Harden is laughing at him. Go watch that video and tell me ‘where is the guy with the six-inch screw and the two bad knees?’ Why are you yelling and screaming ‘MY MOTHER CAME TO SEE ME! MY SISTERS CAME TO SEE ME AT WINSTON-SALEM STATE, AT WAKE FOREST HOSPITAL!’... He’s yelling and screaming about facts that don’t really matter. He’s emphasizing the wrong thing. Why? ‘OH, THIS IS JUST SMALL AND PETTY! SO WHAT HE LIED ABOUT HIS COLLEGE BASKETBALL CAREER!’... What else is he lying about? Who is the 'Stephen Smith' listed on the stat-sheet? Is it 'Stephen A. Smith' or a different 'Stephen Smith'? I don't know anyone who plays any type of college athletics, plays in nine games, and then goes on to say 'NAH, I PLAYED IN NONE!' Who does that? You went around bragging how you played for 'Big House' Gaines, and 'Big House' Gaines was your best friend, your father-figure, and mentor... It raises questions. WHO IS HE?? I pointed out that there's some really short guy named 'Gary Stephens' who Stephen A. towers over. Stephen A. is 6'1". There's some dude who appears to be 5'8"-5'9" named 'Gary Stephens' that Stephen A. runs around the country with who says he was Stephen A's teammate at Winston-Salem State. There's no proof of it, we called the registrar trying to find out -- 'is there a Gary Stephens that went to Winston-Salem State during this time period?' They said 'NO', couldn't find it. There were other people that we asked about; other people listed on the stat-sheet that they COULD find in the registrar. Stephen A. tells this farcical story – he's told it for years – he's ‘Big House’ Gaines’ best friend, ‘Big House’ Gaines is his mentor, but ‘I TOLD BIG HOUSE GAINES THAT I WAS GOING TO WRITE A STORY THAT HE SHOULD RETIRE BECAUSE OF HIS HEALTH, I WROTE IT, AND THEN THE CHANCELLOR TRIED TO KICK ME OUT OF SCHOOL, AND THE COACHES TRIED TO KICK ME OFF THE TEAM’ he says... So I go find the article from the student newspaper at that time – it's published in the April, 1991 edition. It’s a review of the ‘90-’91 season. It makes sense – April, basketball raps up in March. Stephen A. is writing a review of the season. He quotes anonymous players saying this or that... Nowhere in the story does Stephen A. say ‘I was on the team, here’s what happened’ or ‘he’s what I think happened’, or ‘here’s what me and my teammates talked about having happened’... Nowhere in that story does he call for ‘Big House’ to retire. It’s bizarre. It raises questions as a journalist -- ‘what’s going on here?’ There’s a ‘Stephen Smith’ who played on the basketball team and acquired some stats, there’s a ‘Stephen A. Smith’ that is on TV saying ‘NAH, I PLAYED ONE GAME’, ‘NAH, I PLAYED ZERO GAMES’... There’s a Stephen A. Smith that says ‘NAH, I BROKE MY KNEE IN HALF IN 1989’, there’s a Stephen A. Smith who is writing a story as a journalist trying to figure out why they had a disappointing season, and he never provides any insight. He’s a member of the team allegedly. Wouldn’t you at some point say ‘THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED’...? We came up with this ‘WANTED’ poster -- we’re just looking for any information – and I say this in all seriousness – that proves that Stephen A. Smith was a legitimate member of the Winston-Salem State basketball team."

Watch Jason Whitlock of Blaze TV’s Fearless call out ESPN studio host Stephen A. Smith on the legitimacy of his college basketball career at Winston-Salem State University, as the backstory of Smith’s little known basketball legacy started mostly as a punchline on ESPN but later devolved into Smith acting like it never even happened. 

Whitlock chronicles the ever-changing recollection from Smith, which first began as Smith allegedly averaging 1.5 points per game, with an old clipping from the 1991 Winston-Salem State basketball yearbook confirming a ‘Stephen Smith’ to have scored 15 points of 5/23 shooting in 9 games. 

 After the graphic picked up steam on social media, it turned into a sore subject of ribbing for Smith, as ESPN’s NBA Countdown show with Malinka Andrews, Jalen Rose, and JJ Redick even featured a ‘blind resume’ graphic featuring the three players’ college statistics during their final seasons of college, with the ‘1.5 points’ becoming embarrassingly obvious that is was Stephen A’s. 

Smith didn’t look too entertained during the cringe-worthy segment as his discomfort was evident, with Smith saying he appeared in just one game that season because he ‘cracked his kneecap in half.’ 

In later interviews, however, including monologues on his own podcast, Smith says he didn’t appear in ANY games at Winston-Salem State, and said the knee injury as a freshman prevented him from ever suiting up on the court, and thus costing him a chance to ‘excel’ at the Division-2 level, as he put it.

Smith says that he made 17 consecutive three-point shots during a college basketball tryout and got a full-scholarship from Winston-Salem State the same day.

Watch Whitlock break down the sketchy story, and wonder that if Smith is so comfortable ‘lying’ about his basketball background, then are we sure that a large amount of his life story documented in his recent memoir titled Straight Shooter isn’t exaggerated and dramatized as well?