ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Picks His Starter Pokemon


  • Stephen A Smith hilariously chooses Charmander as his starter Pokemon because it reminds him of himself “because of the forehead.”
  • Fans of both Stephen A Smith and Pokemon find his confusion and mispronunciation of Bulbasaur and Charmander to be funny.
  • The viral video has sparked a heated debate among fans about the best starter Pokemon and has brought back feelings of nostalgia for classic Pokemon games.

Iconic ESPN personality Stephen A Smith has gone viral for a video in which he chooses his starter Pokemon. Smith is one of ESPN’s biggest stars as host of The First Take, but he also hosts his own show on YouTube entitled The Stephen A Smith Show. On YouTube, Smith can discuss topics that aren’t fit for ESPN’s programming, and in this hilarious case, Smith discussed Pokemon, responding to a fan’s request to choose a starter Pokemon.

The debate surrounding the best and worst starter Pokemon is one of the most iconic within its fanbase. When first beginning any Pokemon game, players must choose between one of three Pokemon that each possess different types that could be helpful later in the game. This first Pokemon will often accompany the player through the entire game, and thus is an important choice, especially when considering the types of each gym throughout the game. In the case of this viral video, Smith was asked to choose between the first-generation starters, grass-type Bulbasaur, fire-type Charmander, and water-type Squirtle. As one of the franchise’s most iconic trios, the debate regarding the ideal choice between the first-generation starters is never-ending.


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Which Starter Pokemon Did Stephen A Smith Choose?

pokemon kanto region starters charmander bulbasaur squirtle

Stephen A Smith seems to be unaware of the hot-button debate surrounding starters, as well as the Pokemon craze in general. He began his response with confusion about what these creatures were, then hilariously mispronounced their names before settling on Charmander as his starter. Many Pokemon fans choose the fire-type starter because of his powerful evolution Charizard, which is one of the most popular Pokemon. However, Smith chose Charmander because it reminds him of himself “because of the forehead.”

Fans of both Stephen A Smith and Pokemon have shown love for the now-viral clip, with many finding it hysterical. Pokemon fans specifically have found Smith’s confusion and brutal mispronunciation of Bulbasaur and Charmander to be especially funny, considering the popularity of this set of starter Pokemon, and the franchise in general. Many fans found Smith’s self-deprecating comparison of his forehead to Charmander’s hilarious as well. Smith continued the fun by tweeting a photoshopped image of himself with the starter Pokemon, inquiring if he picked correctly.

While a lot of fans have claim that Smith chose right with Charmander, the starter debate continues with fans sharing their takes, as well as comparing the Pokemon to sports teams to create appropriate analogies for Smith. This viral video has many Pokemon fans feeling nostalgic about their childhood Pokemon games and their favorite starters. Especially with the changes in starter evolutions since Gen 1, some fans are missing the simpler days of Pokemon classics.



Pokemon is a franchise that needs no introduction. One of the most successful media empires in history, Pokemon spans games, television, films, manga, merchandise, music, and more.

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Satoshi Tajiri