The sports world was shocked today by the passing of legendary reporter and host John Saunders. The 61-year-old ESPN and host of “The Sports Reporters” was a beloved figure in his world and far, far beyond.
Wednesday afternoon (Aug 10th), Stephen A. Smith spoke live on ESPN about the “father figure” Saunders has been to him since he started at the network more than a decade ago.
Smith said their relationship was not “just professional,” but that the mentor would talk to him about anything in life and how he always looked to lend a helping hand to a young journalist.
“He never asked to be a brother, or friend or anything inspirational in my life,” Smith reported to ABC News. “He just demanded it simply by being the best colleague any professional could ever hope to have. My heart is too heavy right now for any additional words. But I’m sure I’m not alone. I lost someone I love dearly. As has anyone who truly knew this man!”
So many have gone to social media to show their respect, share their views of him, and express their pain.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) August 10, 2016
Two things not overrated: gravitas and wisdom. John Saunders had an abundance of both. Mixed in with his humanity. https://t.co/rPwOtLQj81
— Kevin Merida (@meridak) August 10, 2016
— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) August 10, 2016