Paul George Laughed When Stephen A. Smith Took a Subtle Shot at Kawhi Leonard

The NBA Countdown panel reacts to Stephen A. Smith taking a shot at Kawhi Leonard.
The NBA Countdown panel reacts to Stephen A. Smith taking a shot at Kawhi Leonard. / ESPN
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Paul George joined the NBA Countdown crew for Game 3 and Game 4, replacing Josh Hart as the fifth person on the pregame and notably short halftime show. George is available because he and the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs. George appeared in all six games of the series, averaging 19.5 points.

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard played in just two games in the series. It was the third straight postseason where Leonard missed the end of the Clippers postseason with injury. Stephen A. Smith made a point of referencing this on NBA Countdown, saying, "Nobody on the planet knows what it's like to play without a star than Paul George."

This caused a number of reactions on-set. George and Malika Andrews laughed immediately, but Michael Wilbon and Bob Myers appeared to be momentarily shocked. George quickly said, "Don't do that," but Smith must not have heard him because he made the same exact joke about an hour later. That time the crew was less receptive.

A longer set up. A more emphatic delivery. A less enthusiastic crowd. That's why you should never stay for the second set unless you're getting paid.


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Stephen Douglas

STEPHEN DOUGLAS

Stephen Douglas is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in journalism and media since 2008, and now casts a wide net with coverage across all sports. Stephen spent more than a decade with The Big Lead and has previously written for Uproxx and The Sporting News. He has three children, two degrees and one now unverified Twitter account.