I Have Become a Stephen A. Smith Fan: TRAINA THOUGHTS



1. It's time for another confession.

Recently, I threw caution to to the wind and told you guys that unlike pretty much everyone else in America, I was not a fan of the RedZone channel.

Now it's time to go the other way and share some positive news: I've come around on Stephen A. Smith.

I was always anti-Stephen A. because I've always been anti-contrived debate shows. And while I still haven't become a First Take viewer, I've found over the past several months that I have enjoyed many of the clips that have come across my Twitter feed featuring Stephen A. doing his performance art.

This was a big topic on the newest SI Media Podcast with Washington Post sports media reporter Ben Strauss, which came out Wednesday.

Strauss was a guest on the pod a few months ago and we got into a debate (how ironic) about Smith. Strauss was very pro-Stephen A. and shot down many of my anti-Stephen A. points and explained that I needed to just look at the ESPN star as a performer and nothing else.

I decided to have an open mind and took Strauss's advice and was willing to give Stephen A. a chance to win me over. And he did just that. He's a character and he's fun and that's what sports are supposed to be. 

Several highlights over the past few months have included:

• Smith completely losing it on a caller who brought up Carmelo Anthony on his radio show

• Smith embracing the fun the Internet had with his baby filter

• Smith having the perfect reaction to Marcus Spears tearing into him after LSU beat Alabama

• Smith's new "No You Didn't" segment for his NBA pregame show on ESPN

Every single one of those clips is highly amusing. I'd be a complete fraud if I didn't admit that.

These clips also show that Smith is more than just a hot-taker. Strauss was right. There is definitely performance art in a lot of what Stephen A. does. 

Clearly, many viewers and ESPN have always understood this because the network just gave him a new $8-million-a-year contract

This means there is going to be PLENTY of Stephen A. Smith all over the World Wide Leader in Sports over the next few years and I actually don't mind that now.

You can listen to the full interview with Strauss, in which we go in-depth on Stephen A. and discuss the future of Deadspin, the Don Cherry controversy and more, below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

2. Jeff Garlin dropped a good nugget about the upcoming season of Curb Your Enthusiasm on today's edition of Good Morning Football: The New York Jets will play a role in some way, shape or form.

3. Remember when some people thought Antonio Brown was some sort of genius because he orchestrated his release from the Raiders? Well, now he spends his time making ridiculous cooking videos.

4. Here's SiriusXM's Chris "Mad Dog" Russo completely losing his mind and screaming at the top of his lungs for two straight minutes about the Astros being cheaters.

5. I wrote Wednesday that the NFL was doing nothing more than trying to create some good PR with its bizarre Colin Kaepernick tryout. Over the past 24 hours, the league has faced nothing but BAD PR over the stunt and now we have this piece of information via Adam Schefter.

Nice job all around by the NFL on this one.

6. Mets slugger Pete Alonso is probably not the guy you want to come after on Twitter for two reasons: One, he's an awesome hitter and two, this will happen:

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Since we found out the Jets will play a part on the upcoming season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, here's one of the show's most memorable sports moments.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.