The world of sports and soap operas might seem like light years apart from one another, including the likely demographic watching. There’s still some surprising connections, namely through one ESPN anchor who’s decided to also go into acting.
Anyone who’s watched ESPN for years will know Stephen A. Smith as a familiar sports analysis presence there, if oftentimes controversial. He’s also a part of ESPN radio going back almost 15 years.
Despite his sarcastic and raucous personality when talking about sports, Smith is a bit unusual in being a fan of the aging soap General Hospital.
His love for the show goes back to his childhood, reportedly, and it led to a cameo 13 years ago. Eventually, he signed on to reprise an occasional and interesting character named Brick.
How many other sports anchors are fans of ‘General Hospital’?
There probably aren’t many sports analysts in America who love, talk about, and even act on soap operas. Smith is already different from the ordinary anyway.
His dour expressions were ready-made to use in acting, something he utilizes in his on-camera commentary while hosting ESPN’s First Take. Outside of saying things that got him temporarily suspended once (though mostly just social media apologies), he continues to work at ESPN as a major part of their commentary brand.
Back in Smith’s earlier days, he didn’t make it a secret he was a General Hospital fanatic. In interviews of recent years, he says the only reason he became a fan of GH was due to his four sisters watching it after school. Since Smith said he wasn’t allowed to go outside then, he watched the show with his siblings.
One could say Smith became a GH recruit simply by circumstance. Nevertheless, being a lifelong fan enabled him to land a cameo on the show in 2007 playing a reporter. It was just the start of his time acting there.
A man named Brick
Somehow, Smith playing a mysterious character named Brick on TV sounds appropriate. Nine years after his initial cameo on General Hospital, Maurice Benard appeared as a guest on Smith’s ESPN show where former learned of latter’s love for the show. Bernard arranged for Smith to play a more substantial character during the 2016-17 season.
Sure enough, Smith landed the role of Brick, a surveillance expert for the mob. His character ultimately became a close confidante of mob kingpin Sonny Corinthos, played by Benard.
So far, Smith has appeared as Brick a number of times, usually helping with some kind of tech problem in the family. It’s hard to tell if Brick is really a bad guy since he’s usually helping the mafia track a number of people down. At least he’s used his surveillance knowledge to help the family with personal family issues.
When viewed from the real world, Brick may feel he has no choice but to work with Sonny since rebuffing the mafia would likely mean trouble.
Smith says it’s been fun to act on the show
Apparently Smith finds it a breeze interacting with the actors on the show since he continues watching. Smith said he even understands all the quirks in Maurice Benard’s acting, making interactions easier.
There doesn’t seem to be any trepidation on the part of Smith in playing a morally questionable character either. Considering he’s always brazen and honest on his ESPN show, being comfortable playing a villain maybe isn’t a stretch.
Let’s also remember a good majority of the characters on General Hospital over the years have been baddies. On occasion, good qualities are brought out. Maybe Smith’s Brick will eventually do something worthy with his tech skills rather than committing forgery as he did in his first appearance already.
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