During an interview with VIBE Magazine, Smith, 55, talked about the upcoming tome and emphasized that his text wouldn’t be “some tell-all book” where he’s divulging “every scintilla” of his life for shock value.
Instead, Stephen A insisted that his memoir would be his life story presented as “a tool to give something back to the people” motivated by the passing of his mother. But before his mom’s death in 2017, he had no desire to tell his story — because he had made a promise.
“I was convinced by friends and loved ones and my inner circle that it was time because I’m where I’m at,” the NBA in Stephen A’s World host began. “I’m recognizable. I’m highly successful and blessed. And because of that, now was the time to tell this story. Honestly, people have been after me to write a book for over a decade.”
“However, I refrained from doing so because I wasn’t convinced that my story was worth telling, but more so that I knew that if I wrote a book, there are a lot of intimate details that I would reveal. And my mother, who passed away in 2017, God rest her soul, made me promise that I would never write my book while she was alive.”
Smith went on to further explain his promise to his mother and why he had to wait until after her passing to write and release Straight Shooter.
“She knew I would tell the truth, and that’s not something she wanted to deal with while alive,” the ESPN analyst expressed. “So she made me promise years ago that I would never write the book unless she had passed away. And I would never think to consider it until after she passed away. And even though she passed away in 2017, it wasn’t until close to 2020 that I even thought about doing it. And here we are.”
Later in the conversation, the First Take pundit detailed the contents of the upcoming piece of work. He explained what fans could expect from his story and what lessons he wanted to infuse in the prose, and even explained it as “motivational” non-fiction.
“I hope to use this as a tool to give something back to the people and people who have positively affected my life. I didn’t get here by myself. A lot of people helped me get to this point,” Smith asserted. “And through God’s grace, I could pull it off. There’s no question that my memoir will tell a lot about who I am and what I’ve had to deal with and why I had to face those challenges that I had to face, and what it took for me to overcome them.”
“If I wanted to peel anything from my book, I want it to be deemed as motivation. I’m giving them a lot of me personally and some of the things that I’ve never talked about and some of the challenges that I faced and overcame, how I was able to do it, and what I learned from it.”
Stephen A. Smith then compared himself to some of the culture’s most remarkable figures, like Kobe Bryant and Jay-Z, explaining that these men were the best examples of “American fantasy become reality” because people can’t commonly replicate their greatness. By comparison, his success is more obtainable, making him the true American dream.
“One of the things that I like that I’m very fond of saying is that to the Jay-Z’s, the late great Kobe Bryants, Shaquille O’Neils, and others of the world, they’re not the American dream. I am. They’re the American fantasy become reality. In other words, that’s one in a billion shot you’ll be able to pull that off because that’s how magnificent they are.
“There’s billions of people in this world. You don’t see too many people that are them. But I’m the American dream because you can be Stephen A. Smith. You can get left back in school and still graduate from college with honors. You could have a reading disability when you’re younger, and you can still become a journalist. You can dream of being on TV one day and end up pulling it off.”
Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes releases on January 17, 2023, wherever books are sold.