The Atlanta Hawks announced how they’ll be honoring Sekou Smith, the beloved NBA reporter and analyst who died of COVID-19 in late January at age 48. Smith spent several years covering the Hawks for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Hawks are going all out to pay tribute to a man whose warmth, generosity and talent affected so many.
Hawks to rename press room
In a news release, the Hawks announced three permanent ways they’ll be honoring Smith to pay respect to his “dedication to journalism, building relationships and mentoring young journalists.”
Starting with the 2021-22 NBA season, the press room at the Hawks’ State Farm Arena will be renamed the Sekou Smith Press Room. The space will also be redesigned to honor Smith’s memory.
The Sekou Smith Award will be given out at the end of every season, which will honor the Hawks player who “best represents themselves and the franchise with professionalism and integrity in their interactions with the media.” The name of each winner will be added to a plaque, which will be displayed in the soon-to-be renamed press room, and the award will be presented on the court with members of Smith’s family present. The first Sekou Smith Award will be given out at the end of the 2020-21 season.
The Hawks are establishing an annual summer league internship in Smith’s name. A journalism or multimedia student from a Southwestern Athletic Conference school will be chosen to become the Hawks’ beat writer for the NBA Summer League, and their work will appear on the team’s website. The Hawks will cover all associated travel costs and provide a stipend to the chosen student. Smith’s alma mater, Jackson State University, is part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, as are numerous other historically Black colleges and universities.
Smith made an impact on so many people while covering the NBA, and tributes poured in on social media once news of his death became public. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes and Vince Goodwill dedicated an entire episode of the Posted Up podcast to honoring Smith’s life and work, and they also shared some of their favorite Sekou stories.
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