Stephen A. Smith scores blockbuster new contract with ESPN

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 20: Stephen A. Smith at STARZ Madison Square Garden “Power” Season 6 Red Carpet Premiere, Concert, and Party (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for STARZ)

Stephen A. Smith and ESPN have reached a massive new deal that has the sportscaster earning nearly $8 million a year, making him the highest paid sportscaster on the network.

Smith’s new five-year contract tops the $6.5 million annual contract deal that Mike Greenberg is paid. Greenberg hosts the show “Get Up!”

ESPN reportedly gave Smith a portion of his salary upfront to get him to negotiate early. He has one year remaining on his current contract.

Smart move.

On ESPN, the SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith show will air every Wednesday during the NBA regular season and playoffs, and will lead off their game coverage that night. Smith also will continue working on First Take, the daily morning sports talk show with Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim and the network will rely on him for overall NBA coverage.

ESPN is also searching for a spot for Smith on their ESPN+ subscription service, which will become part of the Disney+ bundle package with Hulu.

With all of these going on, Smith will be moving on from his ESPN Radio show next year, according to Complex.

Complex posted a moving video last month of Smith, 51, who said that his greatest achievement and proudest moment in life happened in August 2005, when he drove to his mom’s job and told her she didn’t have to work no more. That year marked Smith’s first with ESPN.

“The minute I signed that contract, the first thing I did was I got in my car and I drove to Queens, I drove to the PAL center. And I walked by everybody and I walked downstairs and my mother was behind the counter and I said let’s go, you’re not working no more … I said your vacations are on me,” Smith said.

Respect.