In recent years ESPN's Stephen A Smith has embraced debate to make his First Take appointment TV. However, in his new ESPN+ show, Stephen A's World, he steps away from the debate desk and offers conversations with celebrity guests along with a variety of segments meant to give viewers a deeper look into the long time sports journalist and columnist.
Among these segments, you'll find Stephen A answering fan questions posted to social media accounts in the "Streaming Stephen A." He also uses NBA 2K to break down the game of NBA stars. And he showcases the popular social bit "Baby Stephen A."
I'm also excited for the return of his "love doctor," previously heard on his radio program where he offers relationship advice. Then on Fridays, celebrities will pick their game winners.
My favorite moments of the opening episode came during Stephen A's conversations with his celebrity friends Snoop Dogg and Steve Harvey. Listening to Snoop Dogg speak passionately about Pittsburgh Steeler play calling, positing coaching changes, then touching on the world of boxing before gushing over the current World Champion Lakers and praising Jeannie Buss, I was struck by the rap artist's wildly successful entrepreneur's knowledge and passion. His prevailing attitude of gratitude and positivity was a welcomed pick me up on a Monday afternoon.
However the show hit it's highest marks for me during Stephen A's chat with Family Feud Host and Cleveland Browns fan Steve Harvey. Harvey shared the long-ago memory as a small boy watching the Browns win in 1964, and was clearly on cloud nine after Sunday's unexpected win over Pittsburgh. Then Steeler’s supporter Stephen A, through a Family Feud style Top 5 found a backhanded way to poke at the long-suffering Cleveland fan. Sports rivalries are part of what makes being a sports fan great and it was a delight to see these two in that moment.
As expected, Stephen A brings his signature confidence and dogmatic style to the new show, and, not surprisingly, Stephen A's World is still engaging as he discusses sports topics rather than debating them.