Chris Russo berates Stephen A. Smith Credit: First Take

When it comes to pushing Stephen A. Smith’s buttons, Chris Russo is King of the Hill.

“Mad Dog” recently lambasted Stevie A, as he likes to call Smith, playfully jabbing at the First Take host about his NBA Finals tunnel walk.

This is also the same Russo who said he’d Wally Pipp Smith after sitting in his seat after the latter joined First Take remotely. Needless to say, Russo is the perfect heel to Smith on First Take, and while he isn’t filling the shoes of Skip Bayless or Max Kellerman per se, he knows how to needle the face of the company playfully.

Dan Patrick asked Russo when he knew he’d gotten underneath Smith’s skin on First Take.

“If I get into something with the NBA, historically, that’s what gets him annoyed,” said Russo. “He threw a bone at me yesterday with the top-five duos of all time, and he brought in (Bob) Cousy and Sam Jones, and I think he did that for me. But he left (Jerry) West and (Gail) Goodrich out — the year they won 39 in a row, they had 69 wins, and they killed the teams in the postseason, but both were unbelievable. And I think he got a little annoyed.

“‘Steve, Steve, wait, West and Goodrich? How do you — what’s the matter?’ Because it indicates that he didn’t realize how good West and Goodrich were. He loves it, though; he loves it. Yesterday, I had some fun with him when he walked into the gym with these beautiful suits on like he was about to be a player and score 35 in a ballgame. He loves it when you have fun with that.”

“But I think when I have fun playing the historian, and I go to the old NBA days, I think that’s when he might get a little ticked,” added Russo.

Patrick mentioned how Russo would upset JJ Redick when he did that.

“Oh, terribly, terribly,” Russo said. “And I think that bothered Stevie A. a little bit. But it’s fun. I have fun in there. I don’t try to take it too seriously. I have some laughs. You and I try to stay away from those topics that might get you in a little trouble, and I try to just basically do it from a sports standpoint.”

[The Dan Patrick Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.