Joining Andrew Marchand and John Ourand on their Sports Media Podcast this week to promote his new Sunday night HBO show Game Theory, Jones discussed his relationship with Bayless and the surprising reason he stopped getting invites on First Take. After joining the show once a month for about three months in 2010, Jones claims “Skip told them to stop calling me.”
“I’m not a particularly argumentative type, and so I wasn’t going on there to fight with Skip,” Jones explained of his initial mindset on First Take. “I was going on there to talk with Skip. I thought he would find that refreshing, I completely misunderstood what the get down was.”
Bomani Jones talks about the time when Skip Bayless told "First Take" producers to stop inviting him onto the show.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) March 16, 2022
Prior to one of Jones’ appearances, Bayless was asked who he believes his toughest debate opponent on First Take was?
“Greg Anthony,” Bayless quickly answered. This was presumably before Stephen A. Smith joined Bayless as a full-time debate partner in 2012.
“Come on Skip, I’m right here,” Jones recalled saying. According to Jones, Bayless looked him in the eye and repeated, “GREG ANTHONY.”
Considering it a challenge, Jones sat across from Bayless that day and as he describes it, “wore his ass out…it was almost like that time when Karl Malone elbowed David Robinson and gave him a concussion and then quiet Tim Duncan gave them 38.”
“I think I spoke to him once since then, and then they didn’t call me back for that next month,” Jones said. “And I got word that apparently [Bayless] had let them know that he didn’t think we were a fit and the person who told me that made it clear that had never happened before.”
In 2014, Bayless claimed he never lost a debate. And maybe that’s why he stopped inviting Jones on First Take, in hopes of keeping his seemingly farcical record intact. Jones isn’t the first person to allege Bayless didn’t want his debate record to be challenged at ESPN, with Ryen Rusillo previously stating, “When you disagree with Skip, you’re not allowed to.”
Although he might not consider himself to be “argumentative,” Jones can debate with the best of them. That was seen the time he called into Will Cain’s radio show and annihilated him over a conversation about Bubba Wallace. According to Jones, that same debate prowess proved to be too tough for Bayless.