When it comes to sports talk shows, ESPN's First Take might be the best of the best.
Featuring prominent names like Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim Rose, Kendrick Perkins, and more, it's a show that almost every sports fan is familiar with, and most can find enjoyment in.
For a while, it was Skip Bayless who sat across the desk from Stephen A., debating him on some rather outlandish takes and opinions. Once Skip left, it left a pretty big hole for the network to fill and they responded by hiring Max Kellerman.
Right away, it was clear that the two were a great fit, and their partnership would go on to last five years.
On Wednesday morning, however, Max's time on the show came to an end, and Stephen A. bid him farewell in a phone call on the air.
“I’m really sorry I couldn’t be there to tell you face-to-face to thank you for everything you did for the show,” Smith said. “You’re going to be doing big things like you’re always doing big things.”
Max responded humbly, detailing how he felt being chosen to be on the show in the first place:
“All things come to an end, and this is the end to my run on ‘First Take,’” Kellerman said. “I’m really sorry I couldn’t be there to tell you face-to-face to thank you for everything you did for the show,” Smith said. “You’re going to be doing big things like you’re always doing big things.”
The exact reasoning behind Max's departure remains unclear, but there have been rumblings that Stephen A. himself called for ESPN to make the change.
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.
Whatever the reason, Kellerman is out and ESPN probably already has a few names in mind for his replacement.