First Take Your Take winners

Who’s ready to watch fans debate Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on ESPN’s First Take? The First Take, Your Take contest, which was announced back in October, has revealed its winners, Chrystal Stone of New York City and Mikal Goodman of Miami. They’ll appear on the show Tuesday and Wednesday respectively (Jan. 17 and 18), to join Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qerim, and from their promo video for this, it looks like they might fit right in. Here’s a video of the two of them getting ready for their First Take appearances:

Yep, those seem to be some opinionated takes, with Goodman going off on Smith’s long-standing criticisms of Kevin Durant and Stone taking exception to the way Smith often bashes the Cowboys. The audition videos further buttress that these are passionate sports fans ready to embrace debate. Here’s Stone’s submission from November, on Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor:

Hey, her take that “This fight will happen” actually appears somewhat prophetic, as things appear to be moving in that direction, and it’s interesting that she predicted this at a time when many media members were writing it off as an utter impossibility. There does appear to be more passion than strongly-researched arguments here, but hey, that feels perfect for this show. What about Goodman? Here’s his audition from October, discussing Cam Newton’s terse Oct. 16 press conference:

“Stephen A. Smith, you should be ashamed of yourself!” Well, that’s certainly a level of intensity about opinions that will fit right in. Making an issue out of who helped Newton up after a hit also feels supremely First Take-worthy. It’s interesting to consider what Stone and Goodman said about their love for First Take, too:

“When I received the call from Stephen A. Smith that I won, I was in complete shock!” said Stone. “I have been a fan of First Take for years. To have a chance to go on to my favorite sports show and be a part of the action is dream come true. I’m both extremely nervous and excited. It’s one thing to win the contest; now I have to go on live TV to take on Stephen A. and Max! I’m thrilled at the challenge.”

“I’ve played sports my whole life, so just like winning a big game my first reaction was extreme excitement, then disbelief,” said Goodman. “My wife was screaming in the background, I really couldn’t believe I won out of all those people. I had to rewind the TV a couple of times to make sure it was really me in the video. I’ve been watching First Take literally every day for over five years now. I’m super excited to come to Bristol, see the ESPN campus and meet the team. To Stephan A and Max: guys, this is the best debate show on the planet. Thank you for thinking outside of the box to provide an opportunity like this. I am extremely grateful and humbled that you chose me. Thanks again.”

Over 7,000 entries were received, so ESPN had lots to choose from here, and it certainly feels like they found people who will fit in on this show. Putting opinionated fans on camera isn’t new for the network, either. It will be interesting to see how these fans are used and how they do, though, and perhaps even more interesting to see how their appearance is received by First Take‘s viewers.

Normally, this space might be used to lodge a complaint against the usage of fans instead of actual analysts, but it’s not like First Take is regularly providing insightful, nuanced analysis anyway. This should be a fun experience for the fans, at least, and maybe it will help draw some more attention to the show. And who knows? Stone and Goodman may wind up being more insightful than Stephen A. himself.

[ESPN Media Zone]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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