ESPN Analyst Stephen Smith Leaves Network

2009-04-22 - Stephen A. SmithSports Analyst, Stephen A. Smith, will be out of a job soon, as ESPN opts out of renewing his contract.

Smith, known for his blunt commentary about atheletes and sports in general, made a name for himself as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, before his meteoric rise as an ESPN analyst, eventually landing his own show, "Quite Frankly," on ESPN2.

According to AOL's BlackVoices, he'll be leaving ESPN as soon as May 1, when he serves as an NBA reporter for the last time.

Despite the dismissal, Smith looks back on his time with the network with "great memories and, most importantly, great friendships."

"It's been a wonderful, wonderful ride, filled with great accomplishments, great memories and, most importantly, great friendships," Smith said in a statement. "It's difficult to express how appreciative I am to ESPN for all it's done for my career. But nothing lasts forever. It's time to move on.

"While my love for sports has never dissipated -- of course, I'll never let go of sports -- my desire to venture beyond sports into the world of news, politics and entertainment has grown. Where that will take me? Who knows! But I'm about to find out. I'll just do so with some degree of sadness, knowing all the friends I'll leave behind," he continued.

Smith's "Quite Frankly" show lasted 17 months on ESPN.

His plans for the future were unknown at press time.

NBA