Turner Sports NBA reporter Sekou Smith died of COVID-19 complications after covering basketball for more than two decades, his employer announced on Tuesday evening.
Smith died at the age of 48, the National Association of Black Journalists’s sports task force announced in a tweet, saying his death hit members “extremely hard.”
“The passing of Sekou Smith due to COVID-19 complications hits so many members of the NABJ Sports family extremely hard,” the task force’s statement said. “He was more than a colleague; he was a friend and brother to us and so many others.”
In its announcement, Turner Sports said it “mourns the loss of our very own,” adding “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” Smith is survived by his wife and three children.
The Turner Sports family mourns the loss of our very own, Sekou Smith.— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2021
Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/97mu4bylfA
The company praised Smith’s career in a statement obtained by The Hill, adding that its employees are “heartbroken” by Smith’s death.
“His commitment to journalism and the basketball community was immense and we will miss his warm, engaging personality,” the statement read.
“He was beloved by his Turner Sports and NBA friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones.”
Smith came to Turner Sports in 2009 and since then took on analyzing for NBA TV, writing for NBA.com and hosting the "Hang Time" podcast. Previously, he covered the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver labeled Smith as “one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league.”
“Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him and it always shined through in his work,” Silver said in a statement.
Other NBA players and journalists paid tribute to Smith in tweets, including former Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade, National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul and senior NBA writer for ESPN Marc Spears.