NBA Reporter and Analyst Sekou Smith Dies at 48: 'We're All So Saddened'

Katie Campione
·4 min read

nba tv

Longtime NBA reporter and analyst Sekou Smith has died. He was 48.

The NBA confirmed the news on Tuesday, issuing a statement on Twitter.

"The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement. "Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league."

Smith reported on basketball for more than two decades. He covered teams all over the nation, including the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks, after graduating from Jackson State University in 1997.

Smith began working for Turner Sports in 2009, where he worked as a reporter and analyst for NBA.com and NBA TV.

"Sekou's love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him, and it always shined through in his work," Silver continued in his statement.

Smith is survived by his wife, Heather, and children Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron, according to the NBA.

Turner Sports also mourned Smith in a statement Tuesday, per NBA.com.

"We are all heartbroken over Sekou's tragic passing. His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality," Turner Sports said. "He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones."

RELATED: Tom Brady's Parents Both Contracted COVID-19 and His Dad Was Hospitalized: 'A Matter of Life and Death'

Smith had reportedly been battling coronavirus, though his cause of death was not revealed Tuesday, and it was not clear when he was first diagnosed. Many prominent players, coaches, and fellow analysts had been sending him well wishes over the last week. On Tuesday, they mourned his death.

"[He was] just a great, great person," said New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy. "He cared about other people. Great sense of humor. Positive, upbeat guy. Extremely intelligent."

Van Gundy said that he'd last heard about Smith's condition on Monday night, and the news sounded positive.

"It just hit hard," he said of receiving the news that Smith had died.

RELATED: Paul Varelans, One of UFC's First Stars, Dies of COVID-19: A 'Pioneer of the Sport'

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called the news of Smith's death "crushing."

"Sekou has been part of the NBA family for a long time... Just another awful day and we're all so saddened," he said, per The Athletic reporter Anthony Slater.

Sportscaster Mark Jones shared on Twitter that he had a "heavy heart today" after learning of Smith's death.

"We lost a good brother to Covid. Sekou Smith of @NBATV and nba.com was a brilliant and insightful writer,a positive dude. He's gone home to be with the Lord."

ESPN's Marc Spears shared a photo with Smith, writing on Twitter, "Thank you for your brotherly friendship, humor, honesty and compassion. Glad we had a chance to tell each other we loved each other three weeks ago."

"You were a gift to this Earth as a friend, father and a man Sekou Smith," he added. "Rest In Peace to my brother. Prayers to your wife & family."

"Man today just got a little heavier... my condolences to Sekou's wife, family, friends, and extended NBA family," wrote Phoenix Suns player Chris Paul in a tweet. "What a kind and compassionate man we just lost."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.