Sekou Smith, Award-Winning N.B.A. Reporter and Analyst, Dies at 48

“We were the ‘307 Auburn’ chat,” Ms. Smith said. “Every morning, whether it was Papa or Sekou or one of my brothers and sisters, one of us wrote there about the weather or whatever was going on.”


Jan. 29, 2021, 1:42 p.m. ET

Mr. Smith began his journalism career in 1994 as a part-time sports writer with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. While a student at Jackson State University. After graduating in 1997, he worked as a reporter for the newspaper until he moved to Indianapolis in 2001 to cover the Pacers for The Indianapolis Star. He joined the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to cover the Hawks in 2005 after Mr. Triche asked him to apply.

Along the way, Mr. Smith bonded with many writers, especially those who had also historically attended black colleges and universities, including Mr. Befriended Mr. Smith for years while serving the nuggets for the Denver Post. Mr. Smith’s soft talk and humor charmed his friends.

“He could have been a comedian on the side if he wanted,” Mr. Spears said in a statement to the Times. “He was quick-witted with funny one-liners, just like the late comedian Robin Harris.”

In 2009, Mr. Smith was hired by Turner Sports, who hosts NBA TV, is a senior on-air analyst and writer for He wrote a weekly column, The MVP Ladder, and started the NBA “Hang Time” blog and podcastin which he interviewed players, reporters and coaches.

Together with his sister Ayanna, Mr. Smith is survived by his wife Heather Pulliam. his sons Gabriel and Cameron; a daughter, Rielly; his father; his sisters Charmel Mack and Misti Stanton; and his brother Eric.

Mr. Smith had a knack for thought-provoking comments, like putting Mr. Lee and Mr. Spears into one discussion about mortality in his podcast after the death of Kobe Bryant last year.

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