ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said he struggled with reading and writing growing up and was held back in school in the 4th grade while speaking with Chris Cuomo.
SMITH: “I'm in the fourth grade, I get left back with a first grade reading level. Donald Miller, Mark McKnight, Willie Johnson, Marshall Louis, Bobby Williams, Rashid Williams, Cardell Brooks - I can give you names of everybody that laughed at me and this was over 40 years ago. It was Tony Johnson, Billy Johnson, you know, Stevie Miller, Fonzie, I mean, everybody, everybody. I remember everybody's face and everybody's name at that moment. You come to me and I met somebody a year ago, two years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I see their face but I might not remember their names because I'm not great with names, I remember the names and faces of every single person.”
CUOMO: “What did it mean to what you thought about yourself?”
SMITH: “I was defeated. I thought I was dumb. I thought I would never make anything of myself. I was ashamed, embarrassed and I talked about this in my book that's coming out in January. My father had no belief in me whatsoever, basically tried to encourage my mother to give up on me. My mother wasn't having it, she was not having it. My oldest sister Linda who was an educator at the time, she along with the best, my best, one of my best friend’s big brother's his name was Tiver and my sister's name was Linda, separately without even knowing each other that well, they would teach me how to read and write and that's why when I ultimately became a journalist, my mother was so proud. It wasn't that I was just this law-abiding citizen that didn’t go to jail and I was making an honest living, it was like it was what I was making a living in. The very thing that was my Achilles heel is what I was now doing as a professional.”