TNT NBA Commentator Kenny Smith Confused By ESPN Layoffs, Says ‘Stability Brings Success’

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Kenny Smith does not understand the recent layoffs at ESPN. In fact, the TNT basketball commentator wonders if the Worldwide Leader in Sports might be shooting itself in the foot.

Earlier this summer, Disney-owned ESPN let go of tons of big-name talent, including Suzy Kolber, Todd McShay, Steve Young and Keyshawn Johnson with NFL coverage, Jeff Van Gundy and Jalen Rose with NBA coverage, and David Pollack and Gene Wojciechowski with College GameDay.

“I’m not really sure how they’re doing it. I’m not really versed on why they’re doing all their cuts and how, is it budgetary?” Smith told Front Office Sports. “Because certain guys are getting let go, and then you hire someone else for more money. I have no idea why they’re doing it, but stability is what brings success.”

Of course, Smith is likely referring to ESPN’s hiring of Pat McAfee, whom the network signed to an $85 million deal just before the layoffs.

Kenny Smith Confused By ESPN Layoffs, Says 'Stability Brings Success'
Kenny Smith says sports fans want stability and consistency in their shows. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

According to Smith, though, shaking up the talent on ESPN’s popular shows might be a bad business move.

The former point guard currently hosts TNT’s Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. The cast has remained the same for more than a decade.

“That’s family. We’re not even a show anymore,” Smith said. “It is what Monday Night Football was when I was growing up with Howard Cosell and those guys — we’ve become that for basketball.”

He continued: “People can count on certain things, I think that’s what makes us the best show on television. We have stability, we’re entertaining. But more importantly, we have stability. We have guys that you really can count on that know the game.”

But whether Kenny Smith agrees or not, ESPN clearly has a different playbook. We’ll see how it works out for them this fall.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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