Stephen A. Smith is a showman at heart, and he's at his best when given the floor to speak freely upon topics he's truly passionate about, as opposed to subjects he's passionate about for the sake of the debate. It's a fine line that can be hard to identify at times, but it's one of those things where you know it when you see it.
Such an example came about on Tuesday's iteration of First Take. The crew was tasked with discussing Kyrie Irving's statement made during the Brooklyn Nets' opening media day late last week, in which he implied he would not speak to the media throughout this season. Smith acknowledged that while Irving shouldn't be forced to speak to reporters, he did sign a contract and agreed to media availability as a part of said contract. Then Smith went on an extended rant that suggests he apparently has had enough of the superstar's constant vilification of the media.
This is one of the best monologues I've seen from Smith delivered in a serious manner. This isn't him clowning Cowboys fans for the millionth time during his years at ESPN. He's legitimately upset that Irving would constantly feel himself the victim of media bias given his actions in the past.
You can tell because Smith pulled all of the speaking tricks he's accumulated over the years out of his bag. His pitch rises and lowers a dozen times throughout the five-minute segment. He does voices to set up his point then swings and knocks it out of the park in several instances.
A master at work. I also agree with most of what he says, but I am admittedly biased. And there will be more of these in store for the viewers if Irving follows through and eats the substantial fines he'll be receiving should he decline to talk to the media all season.