Stephen A. Smith sounds off after Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander loses MVP race

2021 NBA Finals - Game Three
2021 NBA Finals - Game Three / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

For months now, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has been one of sports media's most outspoken advocates for OKC Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's claim to the 2024 league MVP award, with the NBA personality going on record in the past calling him "special" and publicly stating that he cast his vote in the guard's direction.

In the end, however, the majority of those involved in the polling process weren't as convinced as Smith when it comes to SGA's candidacy, as Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic went on to win the award for the third time in four years.

Unsurprisingly, this outcome has stirred up a ton of differing emotions among basketball fans worldwide, with many believing the Thunder cornerstone was robbed while others see things as having played out the right way.

Naturally, as he is one to do, Smith would jump into the conversation regarding the MVP turnout on a Thursday edition of his show First Take, noting that while he's not "trying to imply" that Jokic is "not worthy" of the illustrious award, he believes Gilgeous-Alexander's excellence has been "vastly ignored."

Stephen A. dishes on Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's MVP loss

"He was the third-leading scorer in the league this year, averaging 30. He scored over 30 in more than 50 games this year. He was the third-leading scorer in the league, he's one of the top leaders in the league in steals, field goal percentage shooting, etc. The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the top two youngest teams in the entire NBA and they were the number one seed... When you consider what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander meant to the Oklahoma City Thunder, how young they are in the process, how he's galvanized those boys... He is the clear, unapologetic leader and you see what he has done and what this team looks like, I don't see how he didn't get this award. He deserved it."

Stephen A. Smith

Considering just how impressive the Thunder star's season has been, Stephen A. is far from the only person to have come out in support of his candidacy for MVP, with teammate Chet Holmgren noting that he's "is the MVP" during a postgame interview while NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal went as far as to boldly tell Jokic to his face that he believes Gilgeous-Alexander should have won.

His second-place finish is so shocking from a historical perspective that, according to X's StatMamba, SGA is the "first player since 1967 to average 30+ PPG on the number one seed in the West and NOT win MVP."

At just 25 years old, it should go without saying that even though many feel he should have won the coveted moniker this season, the Thunder star still has plenty of time to claim the award for himself, as his prime is only just begining.

That said, to some, this fact doesn't make his messily 15 first-place votes compared to Jokic's 79 any easier to accept.