Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, ESPN announced a new ESPN Radio lineup, which included a significant role for Max Kellerman. Kellerman’s new radio role, and new hosting gig for a yet to be announced show, means that he’s leaving First Take, which was rumored last week.

New details of Kellerman’s departure have emerged via the New York Post, which reports that Stephen A. Smith spearheaded Kellerman’s departure from the show.

Since he has become a giant in the industry, his moves reverberate. Smith has wanted Kellerman off “First Take” for years. Though it wasn’t personal, according to sources, Kellerman has a “smartest guy in the room” attitude, and Smith wanted more of a debating challenger. And ultimately, he wanted it to be him versus the world.

The format of First Take after Kellerman’s departure is still a question, with guest debaters being a possibility. Michael Irvin has been rumored as a potential guest debater for Smith, in case you’re wondering what exactly hell feels like.

I’m not sure how much, in the grand scheme of First Take, replacing Kellerman matters all that much. If you like Smith, you’re going to keep watching First Take, no matter who is debating him. If you don’t like Smith, you’re probably only going to watch if he says something incredibly stupid or ill-informed and you want to see him get his comeuppance the next day. I really don’t think there’s much of a crowd thinking “you know, I didn’t like this show with Max Kellerman, but with Michael Irvin? Let’s go!,” but I’ve been wrong plenty of times in my life.

Anyway, the craziest thing to me about this situation is that Kellerman joined Smith on First Take *five years ago*. I can’t believe he had an issue with Kellerman on First Take for this long before he finally nudged him out the door. It does seem like the right time for both parties to go their separate ways and try something new, and I guess the start of football season is as good a time as any.

[New York Post]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.