For five years, we’ve watched Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman sit at opposite ends of a studio desk and debate hot topics in the world of sports. Smith argues his points with a fiery ferocity that exemplifies: “Being loud helps get the point across.” Meanwhile Kellerman always argued his points with the idea: “Stay cool, calm, and collected. It’ll make you sound like an expert.”
These two wildly different debate styles worked perfectly together on the set of First Take. Every day, it was like Smith and Kellerman were looking in twisted mirrors and it led to some very entertaining moments. However, after almost five years with Kellerman on the show, “First Take” will have to fill his debate chair with someone else.
ESPN is expected to remove Kellerman from his spot on First Take in order for Kellerman to fill a bigger role on ESPN radio. He’s had his own show, “The Max Kellerman Show,” on ESPN Radio since 2020, and has his own boxing show on ESPN2. While reports are still murky on what Kellerman’s new role will be exactly, rumors indicate that he will merely be working more closely to these projects.
Say what you will about what First Take had become over its five years with Smith and Kellerman in the chairs. You can say it was a show that only stayed relevant because of hot takes and terrible analysis, but hey, it kept people watching. I know I always tuned in to see what crazy nonsense Kellerman and Smith would say. In the entertainment business, the saying goes “the worst thing you can be is forgettable.”
Kellerman’s tenure on First Take wasn’t always the prettiest. Let’s not forget that he had a sorry excuse for an interview with Jake Paul in April. However, let’s also not forget that he gave us some unforgettable moments from “I want Iguodala!”
to “Tom Brady is going to fall off a cliff” blowing up in his face.
He’s had so many memorable quotes and bad takes, and the furthest thing from forgettable.
So, now the question becomes: “Who will ESPN get to replace Kellerman?” There are rumors floating around that ESPN could choose not to replace Kellerman at all, opting rather to have a series of rotational guests sit opposite Stephen A. Smith every day. However, that would take away from what made First Take great, no? It was two combative personalities duking it out and creating a fun rivalry. With rotating guest hosts, that rivalry wouldn’t be there. So, who should fill Kellerman’s chair should ESPN decide to go that route?