NBA All-Star Celebrity Game: Why Did Stephen A. Smith Receive a Technical in 2020?

Published 02/12/2024, 7:07 AM EST

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The NBA All-Star weekend is a fun-packed weekend of festivities. One of its trademark events is the celebrity game. The biggest of entertainers, athletes, and other enthusiasts assemble on the floor to soak their feet in the NBA experience. This year, the coaches for the respective teams are media rivals themselves. Debate partners Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe will be on the sidelines hurling instructions.

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For the three-time Super Bowl champ, this will be his first coaching gig. However, Smith has been on the sidelines as a coach before. In the 2021 All-Star celebrity game, he led a team headlined by Quavo and others. The media mogul lost the game against Michael Wilbon that day. The 56-year-old was simply out-coached losing by 15.

In front of the camera, we see the elaborate and animated personality of Smith on full blast. Well, it was no different that day and he paid a price for it.

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Stephen A. Smith was assessed as a technical in his All-Star coaching debut

Frustrations were riling up for the First Take personality. His team couldn’t score, they couldn’t get stops, and there was no rhythm. His best player, Quavo had a horrific shooting night. Stephen A.’s only hope was playing some hard-nosed defense. One such call went against Stephen A. Smith. In typical fashion, he engaged in debate with the referee.

Someone didn’t tell him that isn’t exactly allowed in the NBA!

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After a momentary discussion, the referee blew his whistle and punished Smith with a technical foul. The media personality flared his arms in the air in disgust. “That’s bogus!” he shouted after receiving a tech for arguing a foul call. Celebrity chef Guy Fiery was seen beside him trying to cool down the red-hot Smith. And the next day he was back at his day job and discussed the game. According to him, it was rigged to favor Wilbon all along.

“It was a rig job man. I mean listen, first of all, I had one ball handler. Quavo was obviously my ball handler. He shot 1-15 for the night. But that’s neither here nor there. My point is they gave me one ball handler. They gave me about five to six people under five feet tall,” 

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Smith was beside himself the whole night. He revealed his frustrations reaching such heights that he was ready to “rip off” his jacket and play himself. But a rotator cuff injury prevented him from taking the bold step.

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This weekend, he has a chance to redeem himself. Smith will take on Sharpe’s team on February 16th in Indiana. Judging from the roster, this time the ESPN face seems to have the stronger side. World Metta Peace, quarterback C.J Stroud, and Phoenix Mercury’s Natasha Cloud are the noteworthy players on team Stephen A. Smith.

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This year, there is no room for excuses. Do you think he will earn vengeance? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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Written by:

Anuj Talwalkar

2,313Articles

One take at a time

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having composed close to 2000 articles, he aspires to manage his own team one day and is pursuing a top-tier college-level management program specializing in sports. Anuj's love for basketball blossomed after he started following the NBA a few years ago, and he decided to merge his writing skills with his understanding of this thrilling game.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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