Yesterday, Stephen A. Smith grabbed headlines for doing what he does so consistently: rattle off obscene bullshit at full volume. Well, SAS overstepped the line when he used former Lakers forward Lamar Odom's addiction issues as an anecdote to take a jab at Phil Jackson.
"[Jackson's] very first move as executive was to sign Lamar Odom," Smith yelled . "...WHO WAS ON CRACK!"
Smith then took a pause, "I love Lamar Odom the person, and God bless him and we're wishing nothing but the best—but metaphorically speaking, his first move as the executive of the New York Knicks was to sign Lamar Odom, who was on crack!"
Stephen A. was trying to make a joke about Phil Jackson's bad judgment—in the wake of Jackson saying that the Knicks were in talks about letting go of wonderboy Kristaps Porzingis in an off-season trade—and clearly veered into a tasteless personal attack on someone not even involved in the Porzingis trade. Odom—who has struggled with addiction to the point that he slipped into a drug-induced coma in 2015—didn't take too kindly to Smith's comments, and had his lawyer pen ESPN a letter, asking that they "actively voice their disdain" for Smith's comments. Odom tweeted the letter in full, with the hashtags #slander and #ihopewearebetterthanthis:
The letter serves an important purpose: to discern between what society perceives as a weakness and an actual disease. Highlights include:
"Let's put aside the fact that Lamar passed all the required physicals and medical tests necessary to play in the league...."
"Mr. Smith chose to shout out the fact that Lamar was sick, and to use his disease as the butt of a joke. To say his conduct was outrageous and unacceptable does not scratch the surface. Think about the others that are battling addiction. Those that have not had the strength or opportunity to share their struggle like Lamar."
The letter then goes on to talk about Odom's work in the addiction community, talking about his high profile struggles in order to help younger people go through their own. The letter then wraps up by asking ESPN to "take the proper action to support those that are fighting the disease" and to become more active in the cause.
The legal letter doesn't read so much as a shot across the bow for a lawsuit against Stephen A. Smith (despite Odom's hashtags), so much as a request for ESPN to recognize Smith's inappropriate comments. Regardless of whether or not this foreshadows legal action, Odom took the high road on this one. Because how can you go lower than taking a jab at Lamar Odom?