“Make no mistake about it ladies and gentlemen,” when it comes to sports broadcasting and journalism — wait, no — broadcasting and journalism in general, there have been few figures as dynamic as ESPN’s Stephen A Smith. Now, the HBCU Winston-Salem State(Smith’s alma mater) is honoring the sportscasting superhero with an athletic scholarship in his name.
Hilariously, Smith only found out about the scholarship when a few of his former teammates on the Winston-Salem State basketball team showed up on set with a handful of students to surprise him. Smith wasn’t just feeling caught off guard, but supremely grateful as well.
“It means the world to me,” Smith said in a phone interview. “I’m incredibly humbled and I had no idea the chancellor [Dr. Elwood Robinson] was there, so for them to do that is something I never thought would be possible.”
It makes sense that the school would honor him this way. After a knee injury early in his freshman year prevented him from climbing the ranks as a baller, Smith who majored in communications, immediately found a new passion: journalism. Still, after years in the broadcasting game, for Smith, the scholarship is a reminder to focus on what matters.
“There’s a standard you want to live up to and it’s about reaching for your goals,” said Smith. “There’s a lot of nonsense going on, and it’s about being true to yourself and having good character.”