We all know long-time ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith for his over the top personality and hot takes. He is well known for his show First Take, where he and former ESPN employee Skip Bayless, would debate on various topics and issues in sports. After Bayless left ESPN to go to Fox Sports, he was replaced with boxing analyst Max Kellerman, who is equally as opinionated and brass as Smith. Smith’s career at ESPN wasn’t always so sweet as early on, he wasn’t as successful as he is now and his show didn’t do as well.
At one point, Smith’s contract wasn’t renewed, and his show at the time Quite Frankly was canceled as well. Smith had an opportunity to interview now president Donald Trump and in a recent interview with The New Yorker, he said Trump gave him some really important career advice.
“I need you to brace yourself,” he said. “What I’m about to tell you is gonna blow you away. And I promise you, it will be in your article. Book it: what I’m about to tell you right now. And I wasn’t going to tell you unless you asked. The defining moment in terms of this epiphany, where it elevated to another level, was courtesy of a man now known as the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump.”
Trump was a guest on “Quite Frankly,” which aired from 2005 to 2007. “And, at one point—I don’t think this was an on-air segment—he said, ‘Stephen, when you go to a bank and you borrow three million dollars, and you can’t pay it back, you’ve got a problem. But when you go to a bank and you borrow three hundred million dollars, and you can’t pay it back, we’ve got a problem.’ ” (A variation of this maxim is often attributed to J. Paul Getty, whose company, coincidentally, provided the early backing for ESPN.) “He said, ‘The moral of the story is, The more they invest in you the more they must insure your success. If you come cheap, you’re expendable. But, if you’re expensive, you’re valued. Don’t ever forget that.’ That’s what he told me. I never forgot it. Little did I know he would become the President.
Though it is not surprising that Smith’s fiery personality benefited from fellow loudmouth Donald Trump, it does show that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to one of the most unique personalities in the sports world today.