Stephen A Smith fires back at LeBron James over media coverage of Joel Embiid injury: 'Tell the facts'


ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith fired back at LeBron James on Friday after the Los Angeles Lakers star came after the media over criticism of Joel Embiid.

James took issue with criticism hurled at Embiid for missing games with a knee injury. James wrote on X that no one was taking accountability or apologized to the Philadelphia 76ers star after the center suffered a knee injury against the Golden State Warriors.

Smith said on “The Stephen A. Smith Show” that James should “watch his mouth” when criticizing TV shows and podcasts because nobody calls “The Shop” a so-called “dumba– show.”

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Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, #23, protects the ball from New York Knicks’ Jericho Sims, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“… LeBron James, why you lying? Who talked about Joel Embiid and questioned his injury? Joel Embiid was drafted number three overall years ago and missed the first two seasons of his career because of an injury,” Smith said. “He’s been injured multiple times throughout his career. He’s had questionable knees his entire career. What the hell are you talking about?

“We all know that he has an injury history. He’s injury prone. He’s the reigning NBA MVP. He got hurt (Tuesday) night and had been diagnosed with a meniscus injury to his left knee. It was no surprise to anybody what Joel Embiid had been growing through. There were people that were saying, ‘Damn, you never play in Denver, but somehow, someway, you were on the court against Golden State when (Jonathan) Kuminga fell on your left knee.’

“What they were making the argument about is if you could’ve played in Golden State against the Warriors, then you could’ve played a couple of days earlier against the reigning defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokić, which you hadn’t played in Denver — which you visit once a year — since 2019. So, they haven’t gotten an opportunity to see Joel Embiid play in person.”

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LeBron James and Dillon Brooks

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, #23, looks to get past Houston Rockets forward Dillon Brooks, #9, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Smith added that “nobody was questioning the legitimacy” of Embiid’s injury.

“What they were saying is that he hadn’t suffered that injury until he got fell on by Kuminga during the Warriors’ game. But prior to that, he was working out pregame in Denver and then was pulled off the court. So, tell your facts, ‘new media.’ Tell the facts. Tell the whole story.”

Smith explained the media’s critiques came for players who will skip games for rest and eventually are not ready for the high-level competition the NBA provides.

Embiid suffered a knee injury on Tuesday night against the Warriors after missing a few games with what was described as “soreness.” 

“Where are all the media outlets, tv media personalities, hot takes that talked so much (s—) about Joel Embiid about missing those games when he knew what he was dealing with,” James wrote on X. “Now he’s out with an injury because of it. Not 1 person has went back on tv or their dumba– podcast and apologized to that MAN!! No accountability.”

On Sunday, the 76ers provided an update on Embiid.

“Joel Embiid will have a corrective procedure this week to address an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee,” the team said. 

Stephen A. Smith and LeBron James

Stephen A. Smith, left, responded to LeBron James’ attack on media. (IMAGN/Getty Images)

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“An update will be provided following the procedure.”

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