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Jackson State Alum and Longtime NBA Writer/TV Analyst Sekou Smith Dies of COVID-19

Jackson State Alum and Longtime NBA Writer/TV Analyst Sekou Smith Dies of COVID-19
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on January 27, 2021

Sekou Smith, who covered pro basketball for more than 20 including the past decade-plus at NBA TV, died today of Covid-19. He was 48.

Sekou was a popular presence on the Turner Sports-managed NBA TV, serving as a television analyst and writer. He also host of the podcast NBA Hang Time, which has run three times a week and broke down the latest news and storylines from the league with guests from around the NBA world.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Smith went to college at Jackson State in Mississippi before starting his career at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. He then went on to become a fixture in the NBA universe -- first as a beat writer covering the Indiana Pacers for the Indianapolis Star and the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before joining Turner Sports in 2009.

"We are all heartbroken over Sekou's tragic passing. His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality," Turner Sports said in a statement. "He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues.



Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones."

In addition to his colleagues across the journalism industry, the tributes came from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, as well as Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy.

“The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement today. “Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league. … Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him and it always shined through in his work.”

Both Kerr and Van Gundy spent time working with Smith at Turner Sports, and took time to recognize his death after their respective teams practiced Tuesday.

"I just heard the news about Sekou Smith, and I am just devastated," Kerr said. "I know I speak for our entire organization, just crushing news today. Sekou has been a part of the NBA family for a long time.

"I just want to express our organization's condolences to Sekou's family."

"It just hit hard," said Van Gundy, who worked with Smith at Turner Sports before taking the Pelicans job prior to this season. Van Gundy said he learned the news shortly before practice began.

"I think for all of us, this COVID thing has been painful, to say the least. But when you lose somebody that you know, and that you admire and respect and who is young. I mean, he might not be young by some of your guys' standards, but young by my standards -- it's just really, really hard.

"This thing is so scary and has brought so much grief to so many people. ... Today is one those days. There's a lot of people in Atlanta today grieving a great man in Sekou."

Sekou is survived by his wife, Heather, and their children, Gabriel, Reilly and Cameron.
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