Regardless of how you may feel about Stephen A. Smith as a TV personality, everyone can agree on this: the man stays on brand.
Seemingly always in character, Stephen A. Smith knows what the audience likes and he remains true to it. After all, he didn’t become ESPN’s highest-paid on-air talent (reportedly paid somewhere between $8-$10 million per year) by mistake.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that during First Take‘s admittedly awesome Veteran’s Day Special at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, Stephen A. smith put on his all-black Johnny Cash suit, hammed it up on stage, and looked the military crowd dead in the face to ask how they let the Dallas Cowboys become “America’s Team.”
You ever see The Prestige? Well, if you haven’t, spoiler warning for a 13-year-old movie that’s sneaky one of Christopher Nolan’s best.
Anyway, in The Prestige, one of the film’s big twists is that Christian Bale’s thicc bearded homie is actually his twin brother and the pair have been alternating between the two identities as a means of pulling off mind-bending magic tricks.
And let me tell you something folks, those dudes were fucking committed to the shtick. So committed that not even their wives knew their secret. In fact, so committed to the gag that one of their wives, Sarah (played by Rebecca Hall, the chick from The Town), literally fucking kills herself to due her husband’s distant and contradictory personality. One of the Bale twins themselves even dies. Get hanged for a murder he didn’t even commit. And like a hundred Hugh Jackmans fucking drowned. It’s intense shit and it was all over some smoke-and-mirrors magician’s race to the moon. Chris Nolan, man.
So, what’s my point? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure — it’s Friday afternoon and Liverpool is playing Manchester City in 48 hours for the fate of the universe, so I’ve got a little something extra on my mind today, to say the least.
Ah, that’s it, my point is that Stephen A. Smith is Prestige-levels committed to his on-screen persona. The man has been the face of ESPN for a decade and yet we’ve never seen him crack. Week in and week out, he delivers the “stay off the weeds!”, the “blasphemouses!”, the “you can’t be seriouses!” with the same verve and veracity as if it was his first day on the job. He’s so committed that he’ll ask a hundred of America’s bravest how the hell they let the Dallas Cowboys become America’s team.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email email@example.com