Skip Bayless Calls Out Stephen A. Smith for 'Recklessly Inaccurate' Account of 'First Take'

Skip Bayless took to his podcast to fire back at Stephen A. Smith for seemingly saying he's responsible for helping turn ESPN's 'First Take' into a success.

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless attend the Paley Prize Gala.

ESPN hosts Stephen A. Smith (L) and Skip Bayless attend the Paley Prize Gala.

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless attend the Paley Prize Gala.

Skip Bayless issued a response on his podcast Thursday to Stephen A. Smith’s retelling of how he came aboard ESPN’s First Take in 2012. 

After reading back what Smith said on The Old Man and the Three podcast hosted byJJ Redick and Tommy Alter, Bayless called his former colleague’s account “recklessly inaccurate” and a “shocking fabrication.” 

“I thought, ‘How could my brother Stephen A. turn on me like that?’ On me? Seriously?,” Skip said. “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.”

Bayless argued that First Take would never come close to matching the type of ratings the show had prior to Smith’s arrival. He went on to compare First Take to a rocket that had just begun its ascent a year prior to Stephen A. 

.@RealSkipBayless reacts to Stephen A’s recent comments on a podcast:

— The Skip Bayless Show (@SkipBaylessShow) June 16, 2022

According to Stephen A., Skip approached him in the parking lot of the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut about joining First Take because his former co-host allegedly said he needed him after taking the show as far as it could go.

“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. 

.@stephenasmith recalls how Skip Bayless approached him to join @FirstTake full-time in 2012.

Watch the full episode with @jj_redick and @talter:

— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) June 10, 2022

Smith later responded to Bayless, writing that he “didn’t lie about a damn thing.” He continued, “This is nothing more than a misunderstand. As I’ve stated on MANY occasions, Skip Bayless made First Take. He carried it on his back for years.”

Smith went on to call Bayless his “brother” and thanked him for helping him achieve his success.

My only comments on this matter.

— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 16, 2022

Kevin Durant, who has always had a contentious relationship with Stephen A. and other sports debate show personalities, took to Twitter to poke fun at the feud between the former First Take co-hosts. 

Sources say somebody is lyin. Stay tuned

— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 16, 2022

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