Smith, who recently received a massive pay raise, has emerged as the most high-profile personality on ESPN. What makes him so unique? “Stephen A. is never going to be happy," says his fellow First Take commentator Max Kellerman, in a GQ profile of Smith. "That's why he's successful. When you're on the top, the reason you are there is because you are a chronically dissatisfied person.” Fellow ESPN personality Pablo S. Torre adds: “He's an incredible deployer of negative space. It is really hard to have the confidence to be quiet on TV. What he can do is fall silent and then re-emerge with a thunderbolt.” As profiler Drew Magary notes, "Stephen A. has grown into a far more versatile performer, particularly when he rants about the Knicks, which he does with near-scheduled regularity these days. He can be self-aware. He can be theatrically appalled. He can be serious. He can be pissed in a way where you know he’s happy to be pissed. Like the most gifted television performers, Stephen A. knows exactly what his face looks like when he’s making one. When I ask him if he has a favorite face, he gives me the stiff-arm."
TOPICS: Stephen A. Smith, ESPN, First Take, Max Kellerman, Pablo Torre