Stephen A. Smith has confirmed the rumors that he wanted Max Kellerman to be removed from the ESPN First Take debate desk.
Smith admitted that he asked for a new debate partner on the morning show, and ESPN executives obliged. But why did Stephen A. ask the show to make the big change?
Smith simply said that the two “didn’t have a good partnership anymore” and it was time to move on.
"The rumors are accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show… A lot of people don't realize not just the work that goes into it, but it's a chemistry you have and sometimes it just stalls."
Stephen A. Smith on wanting Max Kellerman off First Takepic.twitter.com/hqZmms2kJC
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 10, 2021
“The rumor’s accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show. Let’s get that out the way. Yes, I did,” Smith said during an appearance with Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg on Hot 97. “We don’t have a bad relationship. I think he’s a real good guy. I appreciate what he did for the show. We were number one for five years, we stayed number one, and I appreciate that.
“It wasn’t really about asking him to be off the show, it was about the fact that I knew that we, together, as far as I was concerned, was not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change.”
With Kellerman off of First Take, ESPN has partnered Stephen A. with Michael Irvin, Kendrick Perkins, and other talent.
Kellerman, meanwhile, will be getting his own show on the network.
Whether the revamped version of First Take works out remains to be seen, but it has received mixed reviews thus far.