Skip Bayless should know better than anyone else that Stephen A. Smith will sensationalize his takes.
It is something they both do and why they are both multimillionaires. The contention comes from who saved who in 2012.
Did Skip save Stephen A’s career by bringing him on First Take, or did Stephen A. save First Take by accepting the gig? Here is Stephen A’s side.
Stephen A. Smith reminisced on the time Skip Bayless begged him to form the daily duo that eventually became “First Take.”
Smith appeared on “The Old man and the Three,” podcast hosted by JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, and discussed the formation of “First Take” on ESPN.
“Skip Bayless was doing his thing with ‘First Take,’ having the 2 Live Stews [Ryan and Doug Stewart], Jemele Hill, Rob Parker and various other people debating against him,” Smith said. “And then in 2012, they weren’t satisfied with the numbers — the ratings and the amount of revenue that was being generated.”
“Skip Bayless comes to me in the parking lot of ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Connecticut, and he says, ‘I know you’ve got your plans. You love the NBA. You love being out on the road. You love being in the locker room. But I need you. I’ve done all that I could to take this as far as it can go. I need you, please. Just give me three years. I think we’ll knock it out of the park,’” Smith said.
“I thought about it. Those were clearly my best options. They weren’t about to give me my own show or anything like that at the time. I thought about it for a couple days and said I’d do it. One month later, we were No. 1, and we’ve been No. 1 ever since.”
This hurt Skip Bayless’ feelings, and he went on his podcast to call his brother Stephen A. out and asked how dare he spouts those lies on his platform.
“I thought, ‘how could my brother Stephen A. turn on me like that?’ On me? Seriously?”
“Stephen A. was suggesting that he saved and then made First Take. How can you save and make a show that was already as big a billion-to-one success story as ESPN had ever seen? The ratings and the revenues were impossibly great when Stephen A. joined me in 2012.
“With Stephen A. as my partner, First Take would never touch the NFL Monday ratings that it hit in 2011 pre-Stephen A. And I had taken First Take as far as I could? Seriously? I was just getting started. The rocket had just launched the year before in 2011.”
“Stephen A., how dare you.”
It should be noted the ratings increased after Bayless left because they moved First Take from ESPN2 to ESPN.
Who do you believe?
Flip the pages for them both, speaking on how they were the real reason First Take took off.