Television personality Stephen A. Smith came hard for Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, and Kuminga didn’t flinch in his hilarious response.
NBA players know how to tune out the noise, and some of them are particularly adept at responding to criticism. Even though 19-year-old Jonathan Kuminga just finished his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors, he’s already a seasoned pro at shading critical media personalities.
On Tuesday, First Take’s Stephen A. Smith revealed that he was hearing unflattering talk about Kuminga, divulging that sources believed Kuminga is “shortchanging” the organization due to a lack of discipline. Smith also alleged that Kuminga had an attitude problem.
“I’m worried about Kuminga. I’m hearing too many things about him off the court in terms of his head. The level of discipline he lacks. You understand?
“Some of the foolishness. I’m not getting in his personal business. I’m not saying nothing like that. I’m talking attitude, I’m not talking actions. I’m saying that attitude, the level of focus, commitment, determination, just putting your head down. doing the work.
I’m hearing that he’s shortchanging the Warriors in that regard, and he gotta get his act together, because I’m a Jonathan Kuminga fan.”
Stephen A. Smith has one of the most powerful voices in sports, so whatever Smith says can go a long way in forming a perception around a player. Kuminga wasn’t having any of that.
Kuminga cleverly took to Instagram to let everyone know how hard-working he was, sharing a photo with his trainer.
“Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Kuminga wrote as a caption on his photo.
Warriors star Jonathan Kuminga isn’t letting Stephen A. Smith write his narrative
Stephen A. Smith did say that he was a Kuminga fan, and it’s hard not to be. Kuminga shared last year that he fostered his love of ball by watching clips of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and LeBron James in internet cafes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jonathan Kuminga learned the game of basketball by watching highlights at internet cafes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Tonight, on his 19th birthday, he’ll take the @ChaseCenter floor for the very first time. pic.twitter.com/9lg465xpW1
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 6, 2021
Kuminga moved to the United States to pursue his NBA dreams, and winning a championship in his rookie season is the culmination of exactly that. Heading into a sophomore season being seen as a detriment to the team is something he’ll have to fight against by proving Smith wrong on the court. It shouldn’t be difficult for him to do so.
During the regular season last year, Kuminga averaged 9.3 points on 51.3 percent shooting over 16.9 minutes. In the NBA Playoffs, he averaged 5.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists through 16 games.
Although he didn’t have as much of an impact in the postseason, Kuminga appears to be a talented young star that isn’t ready to let anyone or anything steal his spot on the team.