NBA TV will televise two HBCU basketball games in honor of Black History Month

Friends and colleagues continue to celebrate the life of Sekou Smith, the NBA reporter and analyst for Turner Sports who died unexpectedly last month of COVID-19.

In a three-part memorial on NBA Hang Time, the podcast he helped popularize, former co-hosts and guests remembered Smith for his humor, intensity and love of basketball.

“I just remember thinking to myself, this dude had to play ball,” former NBA forward Rick Fox said on the podcast of first meeting Smith. “Like, ‘Was he a pro?’ Because we have so many NBA guys, retired athletes, working for Turner, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Did I miss him somewhere? Maybe it was college?’

“Because I already knew the IQ for the game and the knowledge of the league was there. But I thought I missed in the bio that he played… It reminded of some of the teammates that I’d been around where I was like, ‘I better bring my game. I can’t be half-stepping around this dude because he’s going to sniff it out.’ ”

NBA logo (Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)

Now, NBA TV, one of the places Smith contributed his analysis and opinions, will televise two live men’s and women’s basketball games Monday between Jackson State University (Smith's alma mater)and Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Grambling State University in honor of Black History Month, the network said Friday.

Hosted by Jackson State, the games are scheduled for 3 p.m. (women’s) and 5:30 p.m. ET (men’s). Coverage in the afternoon will include Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South marching band, the network said.

Jackson State (6-5 overall, 6-0 in SWAC play) is tied with Prairie View for first place in the conference. Grambling (9-9, 7-4) is in fourth. JSU has reached the NCAA tournament three times, most recently in 2007, while Grambling is one of 42 teams to never qualify for the tournament.

The two games will be the first to be broadcast on NBA TV.

Smith, who was 48, began covering the NBA and the Indiana Pacers in 2001 for The Indianapolis Star and moved south to cover the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 2005-2009. He was hired by Turner Sports in 2009.

Smith graduated from Jackson State University, a historically Black college in Mississippi’s state capital, before working for The Clarion-Ledger, also in Jackson.

Follow colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg

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