Former Duke star JJ Redick and Winston-Salem State graduate Stephen A. Smith have made a habit of going tit-for-tat on ESPN’s First Take in recent months.
The former Duke basketball superstar and NBA journey man took a dig at the longtime journalist and media entity’s credibility discussing the future of LeBron James’ career on the air Tuesday morning.
“You don’t understand athletic mortality,” Redick said in rebuttal to Smith stating he didn’t understand his logic. “Three games at, whatever, South Dakota…Winston-Salem State…doesn’t count.”
Stephen A Smith, of course, attended Winston-Salem State University. He came from New York to play for Basketball Hall of Famer Clarence “Big House” Gaines” but a knee injury limited and eventually ended his time on the court — pushing him into journalism and media.
Smith maintained his composure, but remained confident in his credentials.
“I’ve got a degree and I’m here — I must be doing something right,” Smith said.
Indeed, both JJ Redick and Stephen A Smith played college basketball in the state of North Carolina for Hall of Fame coaches. Winston-Salem State and Duke are separated by about an hour and fifteen minutes, but are two vastly different institutions. WSSU is a public HBCU founded by a man born into slavery while Duke University is a private school that was re-shaped by the Duke family, whose patriarch fought for the Confederate Army in the Civil War.
Ironically, the two schools may soon meet on the court. Duke made it a habit to play the defending CIAA Champions to start the season under Mike Krzyzewski. And this year the CIAA champion is non other than Winston-Salem State University. The two programs have played twice since 2012 with Duke winning both matchups over the Division II squad.
Perhaps JJ Redick and Stephen A Smith can put aside their bickering for a moment to raise some money for WSSU so the next Stephen A. Smith won’t have to worry about their co-host feigning ignorance on where they played.
Update: Reddick apologized for his remark regarding Winston-Salem State before the show went off the air. Good move.