Stephen A. Smith on Brad Stevens getting Celtics GM job: “It’s nice to be white”
The Celtics made an unexpected move on Wednesday when general manager Danny Ainge announced his retirement and the team confirmed that the coach Brad Stevens would replace him as the team’s basketball operations manager.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was not at all impressed with the move.
At ESPN “First take”, Smith discussed Stevens’ promotion and claimed he may have been promoted because of white privilege.
“It’s times like this where I piss people off – in particular, white America and in the NBA community in particular, because I emphasize how beautiful it is to be a white man,” said Smith.
Smith acknowledged the reasons the Stevens Celtics have struggled this season. Notably, he pointed out that Jaylen Brown was not available for the Celtics vs. Nets and that Brooklyn has one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
That said, Smith still felt that Stevens’ promotion was unwarranted and that the team could have fired him in the middle of the season. Beyond that, he spoke of the lack of diversity in the NBA’s front offices.
“You are a question mark as a coach in the eyes of some people, including Boston. But somehow you go up the stairs,” Smith said. “And the opportunities for African Americans continue to shrink and shrink and shrink.”
And as Smith pointed out, this disparity of opportunity is very apparent when looking at the leaders of each front office across the league.
“We’re talking about the coach. We don’t even approach black people in leadership positions. We have a black person with power,” Smith said. “I’m talking about a guy. And his name is Masai Ujiri in Toronto. We don’t even have a black guy in the NBA who’s in the US making the last call on basketball issues.
“And somehow Brad Stevens – whom I like, who I think deserves to be a head coach at this level – has a shaky season and he’s coming upstairs. is my reaction to that. “
The Celtics have always made it clear that they want to keep Stevens in their organization. With him would have “worn out“of training, the team clearly felt that the most sensible way to do it was for him to replace Ainge. The Celtics have long enjoyed stability both at the front office and on the coaching staff.