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Atlanta NBA reporter Sekou Smith dies of COVID-19

Smith was a widely-admired member of the basketball media community.

ATLANTA — Sekou Smith, an Atlanta-based NBA reporter and widely-admired member of the basketball media community, died on Tuesday of COVID-19. He was 48 years old.

Smith had long featured on the NBA's league media platforms, such as NBA TV and nba.com, out of the Turner Sports offices in Atlanta. Before joining Turner, he'd been a Hawks beat writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Smith "one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA."

"The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family," the statement said. "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."

Smith had a wife, Heather, and three children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.

Turner Sports, in a statement, said the organization was "heartbroken over Sekou's tragic passing."

"His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality," the statement said.

NBA players, coaches and fellow media members all mourned Smith's death.

"Man today just got a little heavier... my condolences to Sekou’s wife, family, friends, and extended NBA family. What a kind and compassionate man we just lost," NBA legend Chris Paul wrote on Twitter.

NBA writer Marcus Thompson wrote of how Smith's example as "the hip-hop reporter" helped him come into his own as a journalist.

And AJC Sports Editor Chris Vivlamore wrote: "He made every minute you were with him better. Every minute."