Jackson State

Jackson State’s Sekou Smith passes away

COVID-19 claimed the life of Jackson State alumnus Sekou Smith. But the veteran journalist clearly left an impact in journalism and around the NBA.

The sports journalism world, the NBA and Jackson State are all mourning the passing of Sekou Smith.

Smith was a veteran journalist who died after a bout with COVID-19. The JSU alumnus was 49 years old. Reaction to the news of his passing was spread far and wide. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on Smith’s passing.

“The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, 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. 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.”

ADAM SILVER
NBA COmmissioner

Smith was heavily involved with the National Association of Black Journalists. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native shared a close bond with fellow journalist Jemele Hill over the years. 

“I’ve known Sekou Smith since I was 20 years old,” Jemele Hill wrote on Twitter. “Never forget the day we met. We were both interns at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and we met filling out our paperwork. We clicked right away and a great friendship was born. I’m glad he’s at peace, but this absolutely hurts.”

JEMELE HILL
VETERAN JOURNALIST/MEDIA PERSONALITY

Other peers such as ESPN’s Adrian Wojanaski paid glowing tributes as well. 

“Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Unflinching. Full of good. A lot of days and nights on the road with him – Bubble, Finals, Olympics, wherever – and always this: Photos of his kids playing ball, or graduating, or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend.”

ADRIAN WOjNARSKI
ESPN

Even NBA players whom Smith covered were touched by his passing. 

Smith started his career in Jackson at the Clarion-Ledger. He eventually branched out and became an NBA beat writer — first covering the Indiana Pacers for the Indianapolis Star and later the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He spent much of the last decade working in various capacities for Turner Sports. He recently hosted SWAC Football Media Day as well. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sekou Smith.

Jackson State’s Sekou Smith passes away
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