How the Stephen A. Smith-Allen Iverson beef started
Allen Iverson was in his last days with the Philadelphia 76ers. He begged the team to allow him time off to supposedly spend time with his daughter, who was suffering from a medical condition at that time. AI was granted permission to miss some games and practices, but soon, a picture of him would surface, apparently partying and surrounded by many people.
Stephen A. Smith put on his reporter's hat and covered the story because his editor would have asked other writers to do it if he didn't. According to SAS, he had no choice. At that time, he wasn't as big of a deal compared to now; he couldn't refuse opportunities when they came by. And it cost him the friendship and respect of his close friend Allen Iverson.
He didn't always do the right things, and sometimes that stuff was hard to write
In an episode of The Old Man & The Three, hosted by Tommy Alter and JJ Redick, the TV personality had the chance to say sorry for people he has hurt in the past and mentioned the incident with the former Sixers star.
"It's hard to admit this as an objective observer but I love Allen Iverson. I don't believe I'm sitting here in this position today if it were not for Allen Iverson. When he was a star in this league, the only person more popular than him one could easily argue was Michael Jordan. He didn't always do the right things, and sometimes that stuff was hard to write, and a whole bunch of stuff I didn't say, and I didn't write, but sometimes he left you no choice."
Stephen A. Smith, The Old Man and the Three
SAS did what he had to do but later admitted he should have chosen to become Iverson's friend first. Smith shared that when the two met, he saw how hurt Iverson was because Stephen A. Smith wrote the story that exposed him. But, on the other hand, if Stephen A. didn't cover it, his editor would have chosen another reporter to take it. The story would have come out no matter what. But on the side of Allen, it could have been a lot easier to take because the reporter wasn't someone close to him.
If SAS hadn't written it, he could not have achieved as much success as he has now. But the TV personality admitted it wasn't worth destroying the friendship he shared with the Sixers star. The apology came late, but at least it came. Kudos to Stephen A. Smith for coming out and accepting the blame for the incident.