The NBA community is mourning the loss of longtime reporter and analyst Sekou Smith, who died on Tuesday at 48.
Smith was a reporter for NBA.com and NBA TV for more than a decade who was a beloved figure to friends, colleagues, players and coaches.
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"The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league."
NBA players, coaches, teams and fellow reporters all mourned the loss of Smith. His cause of death was not officially released, but ESPN reported he died from COVID-19, and multiple colleagues mentioned that he had been suffering from coronavirus.
"Heavy heart today..We lost a good brother to Covid," ESPN broadcaster Mark Jones tweeted. "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."
"Thank you for your brotherly friendship, humor, honesty and compassion," ESPN NBA reporter Marc Spears tweeted with a photo of them together. "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. Rest In Peace to my brother. Prayers to your wife & family."
The Michigan native and Jackson State graduate worked since 2009 on multiple platforms for Turner, the network that operates NBA TV and NBA broadcast partner TNT. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers as the beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, and the Atlanta Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"We are all heartbroken over Sekou’s tragic passing," Turner said in a statement, according to NBA.com. "His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality. He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones."
Multiple coaches and players spoke about Smith's passing on Tuesday.
"Just a great, great person," New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. "He cared about other people. Great sense of humor. Positive, upbeat guy. Extremely intelligent.
"It just hit hard. I think for all of us this COVID thing has been painful, to say the least, but when you lose somebody that you know, and that you admire and respect, and who's young ... it's just really hard."
"I just heard the news about Sekou Smith and I am just devastated," Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters. "I know I speak for our entire organization, just crushing news today. Sekou has been a part of the NBA family for a long time ... I just want to express our organization's condolences to Sekou's family."
"Man today just got a little heavier... my condolences to Sekou’s wife, family, friends, and extended NBA family," Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul tweeted. "What a kind and compassionate man we just lost."
"Sekou Smith was one of my favorite people in the business," former NBA player Jamal Crawford tweeted. "Always felt like it was family when we would talk. Always warm, always real... RIP."
"He brought incredible joy and professionalism to his coverage of the NBA," the Oklahoma City Thunder tweeted. "The Thunder offers our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sekou Smith."
"The Pistons join the NBA community in mourning the passing of Sekou Smith," the Detroit Pistons tweeted. "For nearly two decades, the Grand Rapids native provided insightful information to audiences across multiple platforms, and brought humor & personality to interviews with our team. Prayers to his family."
Smith is survived by his wife, Heather, and their three children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.