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Stephen A. Smith, WSSU and the pressure of being an HBCU alum that "makes it"

In addition to being one of the most foremost sports media personalities in the world, Stephen A. Smith is also an HBCU graduate. Smith got a surprise on Wednesday morning when he was presented with a life-size cutout of himself in a Winston-Salem State jersey on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday morning.

Smith called his time in Winston-Salem “the best four years of my life.”

That wasn’t Smith’s only WSSU-related moment on Wednesday. He also tweeted this in support of former teammate Monte Ross, who is seeking an extension as coach of Delaware.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Winston-Salem State alumni tend to give Stephen A. a hard time because they think he isn’t vocal enough in representing the university.

Smith doesn’t find a way to put WSSU in every show he’s on, he doesn’t shout out “We See Red” or anything like that. But Smith has given of his time (speaking at the school on numerous occasions) and his money (helping fund events at the school’s department of Mass Communications).

Maybe Smith could talk more about WSSU. Maybe he could shout them out when they make a national playoff run or win the CIAA Championship. But there are far too many people who claim to love their HBCU, but never put their money where their mouth is. They’ll be the first one to make an outcry when their school is in trouble, but the last one to pull out their check books to help the cause, including some of those who are most critical of Smith.

They got me good! Always got love for my Rams! #WinstonSalemState #WSSU

A post shared by Stephen A. Smith (@stephenasmith) on

Like Stephen A. did on his tweet, I’ll admit that I have some bias. When I was coming up as a young journalist at WSSU, I interviewed Smith, and he gave me some very good advice. Advice that, nearly a decade later, has been invaluable to my career.

Make no mistake about it, Smith has carried out Winston-Salem State’s motto: Enter to learn, depart to serve. I’m sure his coach, Big House Gaines, would be proud of the work that he’s done in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

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