Shannon Sharpe Chad Johnson Credit: Nightcap Podcast on YouTube

Shannon Sharpe is one of the greatest sports media success stories of the past decade. The Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Undisputed cohost left the show this summer and earned a recurring role on First Take alongside hosting the massive Club Shay Shay podcast.

Speaking on his NFL podcast Nightcap with cohost Chad Johnson, Sharpe discussed how he rejects jealousy in favor of inspiration. And he explained how he saw Michael Strahan, Charles Barkley and others as role models as he sought out a media career.

“When I saw Charles Barkley could be himself, could talk with the dialect that he had, was unapologetically not afraid to make fun of himself, I said, ‘I could do that.’ I’ve got just as good as sense of humor, I could tell stories, I can do that,” Sharpe told Johnson.

“I see Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, I see Stephen A. doing what he’s doing, I said, ‘I could do that’ … I just wanted someone to give me the opportunity,” Sharpe added. “Be prepared when the opportunity presents itself.”


Sharpe saw that Barkley came from the South, sounded different than most TV personalities, and still became enormously successful on TNT. Sharpe noticed that Strahan surpassed the sports world to host a national morning show despite also beginning his career as an HBCU alum and a late-round NFL draft pick. Rather than resent others who made it, Sharpe took lessons from their success.

“I don’t get jealous,” Sharpe explained. “If he made it, then someone else can make it.”

Of course, Sharpe didn’t have to look far for a role model. His brother Sterling went from their humble beginnings in Glenville, Georgia, to become a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.

“My biggest role model was living in the house with me,” Sharpe said on Nightcap. “My brother went to the University of South Carolina, when he went to the NFL, I said, ‘he ate the same food I ate.’ He went to the NFL, I can go.”

Now, Sharpe is a potential successor for Stephen A. Smith on First Take and partners with Colin Cowherd and The Volume on Shay Shay Media productions including Club Shay Shay and Nightcap.

“I look at it like this,” Sharpe explained. “I don’t need a lot of love, I just need love from the people that I love. I don’t need the world to love me.”

[Nightcap on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.