Lightning McQueen in "Cars." Lightning McQueen in “Cars.” (

One of the issues with creating as much content on a daily basis as Stephen A. Smith does is that he can sometimes appear to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. So it’s not a surprise when he makes the occasional mistake, as ESPN’s $10 million man is obviously stretched thin.

Yet despite discussing the NFL, the NBA, college football, college basketball, UFC, society at large, and even occasionally baseball, for hours each day, Smith has still managed to maintain interests outside of sports. That includes the 2006 animated movie Cars, which was apparent when a caller tried to catch him off guard during Tuesday’s episode of his Audacy/Cadence13 podcast The Stephen A. Smith Show.

“When you think about the GOAT (greatest of all time) of sports, you think about [Michael Jordan] with six [rings], [Tom] Brady with seven rings. But where do you rank a guy like Lightning McQueen with seven Piston Cups,” a caller purporting to be Danny in Wisconsin asked Smith.

What Danny — if that is his real name — wasn’t prepared for, however, was for Smith to have an adequate response.

“I would tell you he wouldn’t be the GOAT. How are you going to be the GOAT — because you’re talking about the movie Cars, right?” Smith replied. “When you talk about Strip Weathers and Lightning McQueen, they’re both tied with seven Piston Cups. Strip Weathers — you forgot about him? How can you be the GOAT when you’ve got somebody that’s tied with you? You’ve got somebody that’s tied with you. That ain’t gonna work. Sorry, I know you tried to catch me with that. You didn’t think I knew that, you didn’t think I knew about Cars, did you? You slept on a brother.”

After Danny rebutted that Lightning McQueen also had 28 circuit victories under his belt, Smith made it clear where he stood.

“Strip Weathers has seven Piston Cups,” the First Take star reiterated. “I am not about to sit here and argue with a grown a** man about about the movie Cars.”

Smith proceeded to ask Danny how old he was, to which he replied that he was 21 years old. He then turned the tables on the attempted crank call, quizzing Danny about his favorite Fast & Furious movie.

“Which one did you like better, 5, 6 or 7? I mean, 8, 9 and 10 are good too, but which one did you like better, 5, 6 or 7? Because I liked 5-7,” Smith said, to which Danny replied he preferred 2011’s Fast Five.

“That was with Vin Diesel and The Rock going at it and The Rock was trying to hunt him down,” the former Quite Frankly host said. “What I’m saying to you is I think you picked the right one, because I liked 5 a lot. I really, really did. My point is if you’re going to argue with me about something, how about it not be an animated movie like Cars? How about it being something like Fast & Furious? I would have appreciated the question better.”

Danny gave one last shot at keeping the bit going.

Cars is as real to little kids as,” Danny began, before Smith erupted for the dismount.

“You’re not a little kid!” Smith shouted. “You’re 21! You would have a point if you were seven years old calling me. You’re 21 years old! What are you doing, wearing a diaper? Good bye, man.”

Perfect. No notes.

[Stephen A. Smith on X; image from]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.