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Smith, Stephen A. Brutally mispronounces and mocks the name of a Nigerian basketball player: ‘However The Hell You Pronounce’ It

The loss to Nigeria in the first game of the Olympic tournament for USA Basketball was a shocking setback. However, this does not excuse ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith’s ridicule of Nigeria’s national squad.

On Monday’s First Take, Smith remarked, “There’s no justification to lose to Nigeria.” “To lose to a guy named Gabe Nnamdi, who plays for the Miami Heat under the name Gabe Vincent. Caleb Agada, for example. Or Nma…however you want to say his name. On threes, you give up 60 points? Excuse me, but you’re capable of more.”

Smith looked to be alluding to Ike Nwamu, who led the team with 13 points in the comeback win. Nigeria was a 30-point underdog against the US going into the game. It’s reasonable to criticize a United States men’s national basketball team, which features a slew of NBA stars, for losing to Nigeria. Dismissing Nigeria’s basketball team and making fun of someone’s African surname, on the other hand, are both unacceptable.

Nigeria basketball retaliated on Twitter after hearing Smith’s evaluation of them on ESPN. “A one-minute clip with no basketball analysis and complete disregard for our culture’s names. Please do better,” they urged in the tweet, tagging Smith. “Even for you, this is low.”

Despite the fact that they were huge underdogs, Nigeria’s national team has eight NBA players on its roster. The blunder added to Smith’s already contentious day on First Take, which included his criticism of MLB phenom Shohei Ohtani’s use of an interpreter during interviews.