Although Smith called Kellerman “a real good guy,” the television personality and sports journalist said he didn’t think they had “a great partnership anymore” after hosting First Take together for five years.
“The rumor’s accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show. Let’s get that out the way. Yes, I did,” Smith said while speaking to Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg on Hot 97. “We don’t have a bad relationship. I think he’s a real good guy. I appreciate what he did for the show. We were number one for five years, we stayed number one, and I appreciate that.
Smith continued, “It wasn’t really about asking him to be off the show, it was about the fact that I knew that we, together, as far as I was concerned, was not a great partnership anymore and that was something that needed to change.”
ESPN announced Kellerman’s departure from the popular show last month.
“Kellerman will host a new ESPN television series (more details to follow), after serving on ESPN’s popular First Take program alongside Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim Rose since July 2016,” ESPN said in a statement at the time. “More information on the new Kellerman show and on First Take’s updated format will be announced soon. Kellerman will also continue to host his weekly boxing show, Max on Boxing on ESPN2.”
You can watch the full Hot 97 interview with Stephen A. Smith, in which he also talks about whether he wants to move into late night down the road, up top.