Stephen A. Smith, JJ Redick and Shannon Sharpe on First Take Photo credit: ESPN

After JJ Redick attempted to opt out of a silly First Take segment, Shannon Sharpe was quick to remind the NBA analyst how the show works.

In the closing minutes of Tuesday morning’s First Take, the show wrapped up by asking whether LeBron James or Steph Curry are more likely to capture their fifth NBA championship. Sharpe picked LeBron before throwing it to Redick with the question, “If they played the Lakers, in a seven-game series, who you taking, JJ?”

“I don’t think they’re gonna play each other in a playoff series,” Redick said with a laugh, seemingly frustrating Sharpe by attempting to abruptly end the segment.

“JJ, if we just did a show on things that were gonna probably [happen], we wouldn’t be on the air very long,” Sharpe told Redick. “That’s a part of First Take. You have to do hypotheticals at some point in time, JJ. Damn! You want absolutes every time you talk?!”

“Shannon,” Redick jumped in. “I know how this show works.”

Redick has been a staple on Stephen A. Smith’s First Take the last few years during the NBA season. But with Redick making his first appearance on First Take in months this week, Tuesday was his first opportunity to debate Sharpe.

“Well, do you?” Sharpe asked.

Redick might not always like how First Take works, often bemoaning about hate hot takes and segments that are filled with too many hypotheticals, but he certainly knows how it works. Further, Redick is really good at bringing attention to First Take, even if he doesn’t always set out to do so.

“We have a topic, ‘Which is more likely.’ Well, I don’t think either is more likely,” Sharpe said to emulate Redick. “Well hell, we should have thrown the topic out!”

You’re not scaring JJ! “You know what’s funny,” Redick said. “I tried to get the producers to throw the topic out!” he informed Sharpe, who was doing the show remotely from Los Angeles.

Debating hypotheticals and recycled topics that are meant to generate social media attention and SEO traffic is not for everyone. You can certainly understand how someone who wants to talk about the nuts and bolts of a game might have no interest in yelling about a forced argument. But welcome to the nature of debate shows on TV. Redick might not always seem to be enjoying it, but he’s usually good at it.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to