Veteran sports reporter and TV analyst Sekou Smith died yesterday, Tuesday February 26, after contracting COVID-19.
He was just 48 years old.
He died as a result of complications after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
Smith first joined Turner Sports in 2009, and he had been a regular feature on NBA TV for a lot of that time. He also wrote for NBA.com and was the host of the Hang Time podcast.
Before 2009, he had worked as a beat writer covering the Indiana Pacers for the Indianapolis Star and the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Smith’s employer NBA TV confirmed the news that he had passed away in a tweet. It read: “The Turner Sports family mourns the loss of our very own, Sekou Smith. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Sekou Smith: Talented sports reporter who loved basketball
The network also made a statement to CBS News, saying, “his commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league.”
Silver continued: “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,” added Silver.
Tributes poured in for Sekou Smith
The National Association of Black Journalists also posted a tribute to Sekou on Twitter. They wrote that the NABJ sports family had been hit “extremely hard.”
They also stressed that he was “more than a colleague; he was a friend and brother to us and so many others.”
Miami Heat legend Dwayne Wade tweeted that he’d never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith.”
“We lost a good one. Rest in heaven,” Wade added.
Orlando Magic’s Michael Carter-Williams wrote: “My heart goes out to Sekou’s family. A big loss today for the NBA family. My condolences. Rest in paradise.”
Fellow sports journalist J. A. Adande tweeted about his respect for Sekou when it came to basketball.
He wrote: “When I had an NBA awards ballot I started the process by checking Sekou Smith’s MVP Ladder. If his rankings matched my 1st thoughts it meant I was probably on the right track.”
Sports editor Dave Zirin tweeted that “Everyone should aspire to being remembered the way people are remembering Sekou Smith. What a better world this would be.”
Sekou Smith is survived by his wife Heather and their three children, Gabriel, Rielly, and Cameron.
Sekou is the latest in a long line of public figures to die from COVID-19. Last weekend show host Larry King passed away at the age of 87 several weeks after contracting the disease.
At the end of last year, Gilligan’s Island actress, Dawn Wells, died following a battle with the virus.