There may be some debate about whether Stephen A. Smith is ESPN’s most popular host, but there won’t be any arguments about who’s the highest paid.
That’s because the New York Post reports that Smith inked a five-year deal with the sports network for a whopping $8 million a year, and he’s been given a portion of that money up front.
Mike Greenberg, who hosts the ESPN show “Get Up,” used to be the highest-paid host on the network with a $6.5 million salary, but no longer.
Going forward, Smith will continue to host his weekday morning show “First Take,” and he’ll also get his own version of SportsCenter before NBA games. But it’s said that he’ll let go of his ESPN radio show sometime in 2020.
Smith, who’s from the Hollis neighborhood in Queens, New York, and played basketball for Winston-Salem State University, began his career in print journalism for publications like The Goldsboro News-Argus and the New York Daily News. He also wrote for the the Philadelphia Inquirer as a columnist covering the NBA and the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 2003 he started at ESPN, and from 2005 to 2007 he hosted the network’s “Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith.”
Smith hasn’t mentioned anything about the new deal or the reported $8 million salary, but he seemingly alluded to it Friday on Instagram.
“For the Jay-Zs, LeBrons, Shaqs and others, I don’t consider them the American Dream,” he wrote. “I consider me the American Dream. You got a one in a billion shot to be them, but you can be me. You can go to school, you can work hard, you can make it and be Stephen A.”
His followers congratulated him on the deal in the comment section.
“Boy got that CONTRACT,” someone wrote.
“Congrats goat! You deserve every penny and more 🐐,” wrote someone else.
“Congrats man….Your a true inspiration to our community. Keep being objective and holding OUR community accountable….✊🏾” a third person commented.