NBA reporter Sekou Smith dies of COVID-19 at age 48

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Veteran NBA reporter Sekou Smith has died, his employer Turner Sports announced Tuesday. He was 48.

The National Association of Black Journalists’ sports task force said Smith died due to COVID-19 complications and remembered him fondly. “He was more than a colleague; he was a friend and brother to us and so many others,” NABJ said in a statement. 

Smith made his name as a beat writer covering the Indiana Pacers and later the Atlanta Hawks before joining Turner Sports in 2009. Since then, he was a multi-platform star, working as an analyst for NBA TV, NBA.com writer and Hand Time Podcast host. He is survived by his wife, Heather and their three children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron. 

In a statement to CBS News, Turner Sports said they’re “heartbroken” over Smith’s death. 

“His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality,” the network said. “He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on Smith, calling him a “beloved member of the NBA family.” 

“Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league,” Silver said. “He covered the game for more than two decades, including the past 11 years with Turner Sports, where he showed his full range of skills as an engaging television analyst, podcast host and writer. Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him and it always shined through in his work. Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife, Heather, and their children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.”

Several former and current NBA players and journalists expressed their condolences. Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade remembered Smith on Twitter. 

“I’ve never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith,” Wade said. “Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven.”

Phoenix Suns guard and NBPA president Chris Paul tweeted about Smith, saying, “What a kind and compassionate man we just lost.” 

Marc J Spears, senior NBA writer for ESPN”s The Undefeated, shared a touching photo with Smith and thanked him. 

“Thank you for your brotherly friendship, humor, honesty and compassion. Glad we had a chance to tell each other we loved each other three weeks ago. You were a gift to this Earth as a friend, father and a man Sekou Smith. Rest In Peace to my brother. Prayers to your wife & family.”

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