ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith says that a podcast LeBron James started with his friend J.J. Redick during the 2023-2024 season has angered some black head coaches in the NBA.

Specifically, the coaches are mad that James began the podcast when then-Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was on the “hot seat” and facing probable ouster. After Ham’s subsequent firing at the end of this season, Redick’s name emerged as one of the favorites to land the vacant Lakers job.

J.J. Redick is white, and Darvin Ham is black.

“What I can tell you is this. Numerous coaches, black coaches, called me, expressing how they took issue with that podcast taking place,” Smith said on Monday’s edition of First Take. “Some of them felt very salty about that, and we certainly are not blaming JJ Redick. You got your podcast, Maverick Carter approaches you, and I’d jump at the opportunity. [They are upset] because it hurt Darvin Ham. Any of us would do a podcast with LeBron James. I know I would. That would be an honor, so we’re not faulting JJ in any way for doing the podcast or for the content on the podcast, but at some point in time, we have to remember the things we’ve said about LeBron James as it pertains to his brilliance.”

Co-host Molly Qerim cut in with a very relevant question about whether the coaches were upset that Redick is white. Or, if they’re just upset because it hurt Darvin Ham.

“Because it hurt Darvin Ham,” Smith replied.

However, a good follow-up question would have been, “If race isn’t an issue, then why are only black coaches upset?” Or, another follow-up: “Would the coaches have been upset if Redick were black?”

Or would they have bothered getting angry if Darvin Ham was white?

Smith says “numerous coaches” and then says “black coaches.” If he means by this that the numerous coaches were all black, these questions are relevant in trying to determine why black head coaches were upset by the move.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers after making a slam dunk against the Denver Nuggets in the second half during game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Arena on April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The whole report is bizarre.

First, if you’re an NBA coach, you now know you can’t trust Stephen A. Smith with any information. LeBron is a free agent. If he gets wind of the fact that black coaches took exception to the way, he may cross some of those teams off his list. This means that Smith’s report, if true, could do real material damage to the sources giving him this information.

The question of whether the report is accurate has to be asked due to the nonsensical nature of it.

With the exception of his stint with the Miami Heat, LeBron has ruled every organization he’s ever played for like a dictator. He has fired coaches by giving owners looks; he doesn’t need to start a podcast to fire Darvin Ham, as Qerim stated. He could text someone and do that. He could also text someone to get Redick hired.

However, if Smith’s report is true, this doesn’t look good for those coaches.