Shortly after Selection Sunday, ESPN introduced Mini Stephen A. Smith to promote this year’s Tournament Challenge bracket game. The 15-inch action figure version of Stephen A. Smith, pre-programmed with sound bites encouraging fans to sign up for the game, was featured throughout the week across social platforms and made appearances on shows like Stephen A’s World on ESPN+, First Take on ESPN, and the week-long Tournament Challenge Marathon. To recap his whirlwind week, Mini Stephen A. himself shares his takeaways from this year’s brackets.
What has been your mission since you were unboxed by Stephen A. Smith last week and did you achieve it?
My mission was simple: help college basketball fans stop messin’ up their brackets. The solution was preposterously easy: sign up for ESPN’s Tournament Challenge. I’m not here to press my own button, but ESPN got 16.2 million brackets on Tournament Challenge, and over 100,000 people in my bracket group. So, you tell me if the mission was accomplished.
Baby Stephen A. made it pretty clear that he thinks you’re terrifying. What do you think of him?
Frankly, that response is simple for me to comprehend. He’s a baby. Fear and anger are his primary emotions. I respect that. But you know what? He’s absolutely right to be terrified of me. He knows my bracket is about to whoop his. So maybe he oughta keep Mini Stephen A’s. name out of his blasphemous little mouth.
Along the way, you hijacked Stephen A. Smith’s Twitter account and taunted ESPN commentators Omar Raja, Christine Williamson, Treavor Scales, Gary Striewski, and even several college hoops experts about their bracket picks – including Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, and Seth Greenberg. Who do you think was the most Tournament Challenged?
I want to be clear: I mean no disrespect whatsoever to Big Stephen A.’s colleagues. No disrespect. They’re all imminently reputable professionals and very good people. But here’s the thing: They were all equally Tournament Challenged until Mini Stephen A. got his tiny hands on their unconscionably awful brackets. But that’s O.K.! That’s why I exist. To bring salvation to the perpetually Tournament Challenged. It felt good to help.
Who’s in your Final Four, and who did you choose to win it all?
I’ll tell you who’s going to win it all: Mini Stephen A. Smith. Gonna hand a loss to over 100,000 people in this bracket group. I’m programmed to make perfect picks with cold, emotionless logic. You think anyone’s beating that? Don’t be ridiculous.