Stephen A. Smith revealed why he compelled Max Kellerman off ESPN’s First Absorb an interview on Sizzling 97 in September 2021. The sports activities tv character and journalist instructed radio hosts Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg, “Sure, I did [want him off the show].”
Smith went on to elucidate that it was by no means private. Quite, it was knowledgeable enterprise choice.
“It wasn’t actually about asking him to be off the present, it was about the truth that I knew that we, collectively, so far as I used to be involved, was not an incredible partnership anymore, and that was one thing that wanted to alter,” he mentioned.

“The explanation why I’m unapologetic about my place, No. 1, is that it’s no knock towards him professionally, his work ethic, and all of that different stuff, his expertise. It’s not like I wished the man to be fired. I knew there have been touchdown spots for him out there at this community that may generate simply as a lot, if no more income for him and all of that different stuff.
“We don’t have a foul relationship. I feel he’s an actual good man. I recognize what he did for the present. We have been primary for 5 years. We stayed primary, and I recognize that.”
Smith defined the significance of “holding issues contemporary” on First Take and sustaining “chemistry.” Though Smith mentioned issues have been cool between him and Kellerman, that doesn’t appear to be the case proper now in 2023.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says he “didn’t like working with” Max Kellerman on First Take, reveals they haven’t spoken since Kellerman’s departure in September 2021
Since that interview, different particulars have emerged on ESPN making that change on the morning present. Two years later, the sports activities journalist continues to be telling his aspect of the story.
Throughout a current episode of “The Joe Budden Podcast,” Smith was requested what he would say to the viewers who say they noticed the stress between him and Kellerman earlier than his departure from the present.
“I heard a few of it. I might take full accountability for that. It was completely my fault and the rationale it was my fault is as a result of I didn’t like working with him. It’s simply that rattling easy. I didn’t prefer it. I assumed the present was stale. I assumed that we had flatlined when it got here to the general public at massive. I didn’t need to go from No. 1 to No. 2. when Skip [Bayless] left. I wasn’t having that. That s—t wasn’t gonna occur.”
Go to the 2:04:01 mark within the YouTube video under for Smith’s newest interview.

“I had mad respect for him [Kellerman] from the standpoint of white dude, very smart, Ivy League–educated from Columbia [University]. Sensible as a whip. Can discuss his ass off. Can speak about something. I get all that. However you weren’t an athlete, and also you weren’t a journalist. And the absence of the 2 parts left individuals questioning, ‘Why ought to we hearken to you?’
“O.Okay., properly you may need had that discovered on SportsNation otherwise you may need had figured it out on one other present, however on this present, in the event you seemed on the content material emanating from the social stratosphere, that means YouTube and different parts used to measure, one is cache, Q rankings, focus teams, all of those various things.”
Stephen A. Smith didn’t really feel increased rankings have been attainable with Kellerman, believes him and Max by no means labored properly collectively
Did Stephen A. Smith really feel like he was carrying the present alone? That seems to be true.
“It was like I used to be rattling close to doing the present on my own as a result of we have been oceans aside by way of cache,” Smith talked about. “Effectively, how are you oceans other than me in the event you’re sitting throughout from me for 5 days per week for the entire two hours? As a result of one in all us is resonating, and one in all us just isn’t in that platform.
“I used to be like, ‘Look, that is what it’s.’ And we had quite a lot of conversations, one-on-one many, many instances. I do know this viewers, I do know what they want, and so on, and so on. Sooner or later, you’re gonna do what you should do, otherwise you don’t, and in the event you don’t do what you should do, I’m gonna get any individual who will. That’s me. I made no qualms about it.
“I didn’t have the authority to let him go. So what I did was, I’ve been very constant, very trustworthy, there’s no private. We weren’t enemies, to be actual we haven’t spoken since, aside from ‘hello and bye’ or if I needed to go on the present after they have been doing the morning present, I might get interviewed.
“However there’s been no conversations since. And that’s tremendous with me. That’s no downside as a result of it wasn’t like we have been boys or something like that. However on the finish of the day, it was all enterprise to me. It was about, ‘Look, man, I’m attempting to win and I don’t consider I can with you.’ That doesn’t imply it’s your fault. It means we don’t work.”
Did Smith make contradictory statements?
Moreover, it appears unusual within the September 2021 radio interview that Stephen A. Smith mentioned he didn’t have a foul relationship with Kellerman, and he thought he was a “actual good man.” As a result of afterwards, they stopped speaking to one another as usually as they did on First Take. Certain, they went their very own separate methods.
Nevertheless, Stephen A. Smith additionally mentioned the 2 have been by no means “buds.” Co-workers may be nice mates, so Smith’s newest interview in all probability confused viewers. Possibly Smith deserves the advantage of the doubt. For a reside debate present, chemistry between co-hosts is essential. The ESPN reporter felt it simply wasn’t there.
“It additionally wasn’t my choice,” Smith mentioned in his authentic radio interview. “I gave my advice [to ESPN]. They ask it, I inform it. Each single 12 months when the NBA season involves an finish, the bosses ask me the place I stand. … And I additionally instructed Max that.”
To not point out, variations on political points might have been the tipping level.
In June 2023, Kellerman was fired by ESPN after serving because the host of This Simply In with Max Kellerman and as co-host of Keyshawn, JWill and Max on ESPN Radio.
Now, NFL Corridor of Famer Shannon Sharpe, the previous co-host of FS1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, debates Stephen A. Smith twice weekly on Mondays and Tuesdays on First Take.
Moreover, ex-ESPN sportscaster Rachel Nichols joined Skip Bayless on Undisputed, changing Sharpe. She additionally joined former NFL cornerback Richard Sherman and rap star Lil Wayne as panelists on the present.

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