How do you know that we’re in the dog days of summer in sports? The NHL and NBA Playoffs are a distant memory. We’re still more than a month away from the first NFL preseason games and college football after that. There are no Olympics or World Cups to speak of, just the exhibition Confederations Cup tournament. And besides the MLB season rolling on maybe the one thing we have to actually get excited about is… Big3 basketball?!? What a world.
Want one more sign as to the current state of sports programming in late June? Try this one on for size. ESPN will be airing a 90 minute primetime special of First Take tonight to cross-promote their coverage of the Manny Paqcuiao vs Jeff Horn fight on Saturday night at 9 PM on ESPN.
A special 1.5 hour primetime edition of First Take will air Friday, June 30, on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, following the Manny Paquiao-Jeff Horn weigh-in on ESPN. The special will feature commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman with host Cassidy Hubbarth in the same debate format as the daily First Take shows. Smith and Kellerman will break down the Paquiao-Horn fight and cover the hot topics of the day, including the countdown to the start of NBA Free Agency. Also, special guest Andre Ward, called boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter, will take a seat at the desk to look ahead to the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor and Triple G-Canelo Alvarez fights.
First Take will also air live in its usual time slot on Friday from 10 a.m. – noon with featured commentators Will Cain and John Salley and host Hubbarth. During the morning edition, sister DJs Amira & Kayla will be in-studio spinning and remixing music exclusively for the show. At 11-years-old, the twin sisters have received praise from stars including Mary J. Blige, NAS, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz and more. Andre Ward will join as guest for the morning show as well.
Normally I would say this is just shameless cross-promotion for First Take and they have no business talking about anything that isn’t related to LeBron James or the Dallas Cowboys. But those were in the Smith-Bayless days. At least now with Max Kellerman on board there’s some expertise on the set when it comes to boxing. However, I don’t really anticipate Stephen A. Smith staying quiet on the subject for 90 minutes to allow Kellerman to share his uninterrupted analysis about the fight, do you?