Stephen A. Smith Photo credit: The Stephen A. Smith Show

Stephen A. Smith already has quite the robust cast of contributors on ESPN’s First Take, but there’s one former NBA superstar with a big personality who he would love to add.

Smith was a guest on the latest episode of Podcast P with Paul George, and during the appearance, the ESPN talent was asked to pick which former NBA player he would want to have as his sparring partner on First Take.

“The obvious answer would be Charles Barkley because of what we see him do,” Smith quickly answered. “We see him on TNT for so long, we forget; the brother is a Hall of Famer and one of the all-time greats.”

Earlier this summer, as Skip Bayless was in the early stages of retooling Undisputed without Shannon Sharpe, he similarly labeled Charles Barkley as his “dream debate partner.” But never wanting to agree with Bayless on anything, Smith picked a different former NBA player as his No. 1 debate show prospect.

“I would tell you this, the person that I would love to sit on a set with me or across from me any day of the week is Kevin Garnett,” Smith said. “Cause he’s a real one. First of all, being real is one thing, but your ability to articulate your position with presence and force matters.”

Smith noted he would have to talk to Garnett about FCC rules considering the former NBA MVP’s propensity to curse, although ESPN’s aversion to swear words might need to be lessened once they launch The Pat McAfee Show on their network. Cursing aside, Garnett’s entertainment value seems like it would be a good fit for TV, and his intensity would definitely be an interesting match for Smith on First Take.

Smith already has Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Dan Orlovsky, Domonique Foxworth, JJ Redick, Kendrick Perkins, Kimberley Martin, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Ryan Clark among his cast of contributors on First Take. Never one to hesitate on spending ESPN’s money, Smith has also been open about wanting Shannon Sharpe and Michael Irvin on the show; maybe Kevin Garnett should be added to the list too.

[Podcast P]

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