On Saturday, ESPN.com columnist Stephen A. Smith spoke to a large group of students at Bloomsburg University as part of the 20th annual Sankofa Conference.

The speech, which lasted about 30 minutes, covered various topics such as leadership and working hard. Smith stated that his biggest inspirations were his mother and his late big brother, who passed away after a car accident. He said his older brother was, “everything a big brother was supposed to be,” and told him that he would one day work for ESPN.

Smith has been a big activist in the African-American community, but he stated early on in his speech that he wasn’t there to talk about race because at the end of the day, you have to look in the mirror and be the best you can be. Known for his in-your-face honest style, Smith’s passion for his job and his beliefs were evident from start to finish.

The message from Smith to the students was simple. A job is something that you have to do to pay your bills and elevate your quality of life. A career is something that you love and don’t consider to be work, and it just happens to pay your bills and elevate your quality of life.

The native of Hollis, Queens is the co-anchor of the sports debate show, ESPN First Take, and also hosts his own radio show, called Quite Frankly on ESPN 2. Upon graduating from Winston-Salem University in 1993, he started as a high school sports writer for the New York Daily News. Fourteen months later, Smith went to the Philadelphia Inquirer to cover college basketball at Temple University, and eventually began covering college football there. The now 46-year-old was elevated to national college basketball and football, before finally getting his chance to cover the NBA, which was his biggest goal. Smith has stayed on covering and discussing the NBA ever since.

For more information about Stephen A. Smith, go to: http://stephena.com/biography/