Stephen A Smith is finally addressing the significant change he made to First Take in 2021.
The abrupt removal of fellow analyst Max Kellerman had fans of the duo wondering why Smith kicked him to the curb and during a recent sitdown on the Dan Le Batard Show, he opened up on the topic.
Smith cleared the air on the split and assured everyone that there was no beef and that it was all about the show’s success.
“I don’t want anybody to assume Max Kellerman doesn’t work hard, Max Kellerman is a bad person, Max Kellerman is not somebody anybody should want to work with. That’s not what that was about,” Smith began. “It was about that a debate show requires certain things that I believe he did not bring to the table when it came to sitting opposite of me.”
The First Take frontman says that on-air chemistry between the two hosts just wasn’t living up to its potential and said he has no clue how Kellerman feels about the split.
“As far as I was concerned, Max Kellerman and I did not work for me,” he added. “It was not a show I wanted to be a part of for years to come.”
He asserts that it was purely their personalities not meshing, and if Kellerman were debating his friend and NFL retiree Marcellus Wiley, the show would have been a success.
The show began in 2007 with the controversial Skip Bayless at the helm, with Smith not joining until 2012. The two larger-than-life personalities would bring rating gold to ESPN in 2016 when Bayless left for FS1. Kellerman would then take his place for five years before Smith’s decision led to him having his own show, This Just In with Max Kellerman, and the ESPN Radio morning show he shares with Johnson and Jay Williams, Keyshawn, JWill and Max.
See how Twitter feels about Smith explaining the split below.
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