Stephen A. Smith has faced criticism from former player Rashad McCants for not including Kobe Bryant in the top two NBA players. Smith contends that Michael Jordan and LeBron James hold those positions, leading McCants to rebuke him for not acknowledging Bryant’s greatness while he was alive.
In response on his podcast, Smith dismissed McCants, asserting that he had expressed his opinions to Bryant directly during his lifetime.
Addressing McCants, Smith stated, “Respectfully, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You don’t have a clue. I have never diminished the Black Mamba, and I didn’t lack the energy to discuss it with him when he was alive.” Smith argued that McCants took the matter personally, hindering a meaningful basketball conversation between them.
He questioned McCants’ emotional response, saying, “We can’t talk about basketball without you going off like someone insulted your closest family members or friends. Maybe that’s how you viewed Kobe.” McCants has yet to respond, but anticipation is high for a potential reaction on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast.
The disagreement between Smith and McCants originated when Smith disagreed with former NBA star Allen Iverson, who ranked Bryant as the second-greatest player in NBA history.
Smith opposed this view, asserting that LeBron James surpasses Bryant in most statistical categories. While acknowledging Bryant’s greatness and ranking him among the top 10 players of all time, Smith firmly rejected the idea of Bryant as the second-greatest player in NBA history.