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Sekou Smith, who covered the NBA for over two decades, dies of COVID-19 at age 48

Sports reporter Sekou Smith, who has covered the NBA for more than two decades, died of COVID-19 on Tuesday at the age of 48.

The father of three was a regular on NBA TV and NBA.com, hosting The Hang Time Podcast.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, 58, said in a statement: “The NBA is mourning the death of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family. Sekou was one of the most likable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a great friend to many in the league. ‘

He added: ‘He has covered the game for over twenty years, including the past 11 years with Turner Sports, showcasing his full range of skills as an engaging television analyst, podcast host and writer. Sekou’s love for basketball was evident to everyone who knew him and was always reflected in his work.

“Our sincere condolences go out to his wife, Heather, and their children, Gabriel, Rielly and Cameron.”

It is not clear when Smith contracted the coronavirus.

Fellow reporter Stephen A. Smith had revealed on January 19 that his friend was battling the virus and “wasn’t doing so well,” the NY Daily News reported.

Basketball analyst: Sekou Smith, shown on Instagram in 2014, died of COVID-19 on Tuesday at the age of 48 after reporting to the NBA for more than 20 years

Basketball analyst: Sekou Smith, shown on Instagram in 2014, died of COVID-19 on Tuesday at the age of 48 after reporting to the NBA for more than 20 years

The father of three was a regular on NBA TV and NBA.com, hosting The Hang Time Podcast

The father of three was a regular on NBA TV and NBA.com, hosting The Hang Time Podcast

The father of three was a regular on NBA TV and NBA.com, hosting The Hang Time Podcast

Turner Sports, which operates NBA TV on behalf of the NBA, also mourned his death on Twitter with a tweet from NBA TV.

The Turner Sports family mourns the loss of our own, Sekou Smith. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, ” the tweet read along with a photo of Smith smiling and a caption, ‘SEKOU SMITH 1972-2021’.

Turner Sports also released a statement that read, ‘We are all heartbroken over Sekou’s tragic passing. His dedication to journalism and the basketball community has been immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality. He was loved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones’.

Smith started working for Turner Broadcasting in 2009 and has appeared regularly on NBA TV while also hosting the Hang Time Podcast.

He is also a regular contributor to NBA.com.

Before joining Turner, Smith covered the NBA for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Indianpolis Star.

He graduated from Jackson State University in 1997 and began his career as a journalist at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

On-air talent: Smith, shown in 2015, started working for Turner Broadcasting in 2009 and appeared regularly on NBA TV while also hosting the Hang Time Podcast

On-air talent: Smith, shown in 2015, started working for Turner Broadcasting in 2009 and appeared regularly on NBA TV while also hosting the Hang Time Podcast

On-air talent: Smith, shown in 2015, started working for Turner Broadcasting in 2009 and appeared regularly on NBA TV while also hosting the Hang Time Podcast

Finals Coverage: The NBA TV analyst is shown on Instagram in 2016 with fellow Jared Greenberg at the NBA Finals

Finals Coverage: The NBA TV analyst is shown on Instagram in 2016 with fellow Jared Greenberg at the NBA Finals

Finals Coverage: The NBA TV analyst is shown on Instagram in 2016 with fellow Jared Greenberg at the NBA Finals

The tribute immediately poured in from Smith’s NBA colleagues and friends.

Adrian Wojnarowski, 51, who covers the NBA for ESPN, praised Smith on Twitter after working closely with him for years.

‘Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Undaunted. Full of good. Many days and nights with him on the road – Lumpy, Finals, Olympics, wherever – and always this: photos of his kids playing ball, graduating or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend, ”Wojnarowski posted to his approximately 4.5 million followers.

Best: “Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Undaunted. Full of good. Many days and nights with him on the road - Lumpy, Finals, Olympics, wherever - and always this: photos of his kids playing ball, graduating or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend, ”Adrian Wojnarowski posted before his approximately 4.5 million followers on Twitter

Best: “Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Undaunted. Full of good. Many days and nights with him on the road - Lumpy, Finals, Olympics, wherever - and always this: photos of his kids playing ball, graduating or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend, ”Adrian Wojnarowski posted before his approximately 4.5 million followers on Twitter

Best: “Sekou Smith was the very best of us. Smart. Funny. Undaunted. Full of good. Many days and nights with him on the road – Lumpy, Finals, Olympics, wherever – and always this: photos of his kids playing ball, graduating or leaving for college. Godspeed, my friend, ”Adrian Wojnarowski posted before his approximately 4.5 million followers on Twitter

NBA reporter Shams Charania, 26, also took to social media and tweeted, “Hard to digest. An impeccable person. Rest in peace, Sekou Smith ‘.

Sports reporter Jemele Hill, 45, recalled their first meeting decades ago when he mourned Smith on Twitter.

‘I’ve known Sekou Smith since I was twenty. Never forget the day we met. We were both interns at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and met while filling out our paperwork. It clicked immediately and a great friendship was born. I’m glad he’s at peace, but this absolutely hurts, ” Hill tweeted to her roughly 1.4 million followers.

NBA reporter: Shams Charania, 26, also took to social media and tweeted, 'Difficult to digest. An impeccable person. Rest in peace, Sekou Smith '

NBA reporter: Shams Charania, 26, also took to social media and tweeted, 'Difficult to digest. An impeccable person. Rest in peace, Sekou Smith '

NBA reporter: Shams Charania, 26, also took to social media and tweeted, ‘Difficult to digest. An impeccable person. Rest in peace, Sekou Smith ‘

First meeting: Sports reporter Jemele Hill, 45, recalled their first meeting decades ago when he mourned Smith on Twitter

First meeting: Sports reporter Jemele Hill, 45, recalled their first meeting decades ago when he mourned Smith on Twitter

First meeting: Sports reporter Jemele Hill, 45, recalled their first meeting decades ago when he mourned Smith on Twitter

Former NBA star Dwyane Wade, 39, also paid his respect on Twitter.

‘I’ve never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith. Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven, ” Wade tweeted along with a black heart emoji.

New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy, 61, kicked off a press conference last week sending thoughts and prayers to Smith as he fought COVID-19 and mourned his death on Twitter on Tuesday.

Former star: 'I've never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith. Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven, '' former NBA star Dwyane Wade tweeted along with a black heart emoji

Former star: 'I've never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith. Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven, '' former NBA star Dwyane Wade tweeted along with a black heart emoji

Former star: ‘I’ve never had anything but positive interactions and conversations with Sekou Smith. Our prayers go out to the Smith family. We lost a good one. Rest In Heaven, ” former NBA star Dwyane Wade tweeted along with a black heart emoji

The NBA community lost a great man in Sekou Smith today. While I’ve known him since he joined the AJC, but was lucky enough to work with him on NBA TV. I got to know him well enough to know 3 things – I was lucky enough to spend time with him, I wanted to get to know him better and he was a good man, ” tweeted Van Gundy.

Rachel Nichols, 47, the host of ESPN’s weekday NBA show The Jump, also recalled Smith on social media.

Every photo I have of Sekou Smith smiles. That’s who he was – walking, talking joyfully. I can’t believe he’s gone, not today, not at all, not like this. My heart goes out to his family and everyone whose life he’s improved, and that was, well, everyone. #RIP, ” Nichols tweeted.

Great man: “The NBA community lost a great man today in Sekou Smith. While I've known him since he joined the AJC, but was lucky enough to work with him on NBA TV. I got to know him well enough to know 3 things ¿I was lucky enough to spend time with him, I wanted to get to know him better and he was a good man, 'Stan Van Gundy tweeted

Great man: “The NBA community lost a great man today in Sekou Smith. While I've known him since he joined the AJC, but was lucky enough to work with him on NBA TV. I got to know him well enough to know 3 things ¿I was lucky enough to spend time with him, I wanted to get to know him better and he was a good man, 'Stan Van Gundy tweeted

Great man: “The NBA community lost a great man today in Sekou Smith. While I’ve known him since he joined the AJC, but was lucky enough to work with him on NBA TV. I got to know him well enough to know 3 things – I was lucky enough to spend time with him, I wanted to get to know him better and he was a good man, ” tweeted Stan Van Gundy

Always smiling: 'Every photo I have of Sekou Smith smiles. That's who he was - walking, talking joyfully. I can't believe he's gone, not today, not at all, not like this. My heart goes out to his family and everyone whose life he's improved, and that was, well, everyone. #RIP, '' Rachel Nichols tweeted

Always smiling: 'Every photo I have of Sekou Smith smiles. That's who he was - walking, talking joyfully. I can't believe he's gone, not today, not at all, not like this. My heart goes out to his family and everyone whose life he's improved, and that was, well, everyone. #RIP, '' Rachel Nichols tweeted

Always smiling: ‘Every photo I have of Sekou Smith smiles. That’s who he was – walking, talking joyfully. I can’t believe he’s gone, not today, not at all, not like this. My heart goes out to his family and everyone whose life he’s improved, and that was, well, everyone. #RIP, ” Rachel Nichols tweeted

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