In 2021 , Stephen A. Smith finally convinced ESPN to get rid of his First Take partner after three years of trying.

Now the show features a rotating gang of co-hosts like JJ Redick and Mad Dog Russo.

During a chat with Dan Le Batard, Stephen A. broke down why he pushed Kellerman out and why he preferred working with his old co-host Skip Bayless. 

“I’m kind of sad in this regard.  I don’t want anybody to assume that 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 this was about. It was about the fact that a debate show requires certain things that I believed he did not bring to the table when it came to sitting opposite of me. If his brother, Marcellus Wiley, was sitting opposite of Max Kellerman, I’m quite sure not only would they have had a successful show, but they would have had a blast doing it. Because their personalities, their presentation, their deliveries, et cetera, work for them. Just like Skip and I worked for me. Max Kellerman and I, as far I was concerned, did not work for me…it was not a show that I wanted to be a part of for years to come.”

After a slow start without Kellerman, First Take has been doing well.

Kellerman currently hosts THIS JUST IN weekdays on ESPN and  Keyshawn, JWill, and Max mornings on ESPN Radio.


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