The conflict between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith seems almost absurd given their friendship. It may seem unlikely that the two former ESPN colleagues, who were together for years, would suddenly become at odds, but it did happen.
Smith appeared on The Old Man and the Three podcast, which is co-hosted by Tommy Alter and JJ Reddick and features Smith’s constant commentary on the current games. Up until he brought up his former partner Bayless and the program First Take in his conversation with the sports analyst, things were going well.
Stephen A. brought up the 2012 incident when ESPN management was unhappy with the morning show Cold Pizza hosted by Bayless and the rotating crew as well as with the program ratings and income on ESPN2. This is when the conflict between these two well-known individuals began.
In the podcast, he spoke about how Bayless approached him and said, “I am aware of your plans. You’re an NBA fan. You enjoy traveling a lot. You enjoy being in the changing rooms. But I need you. I’ve done everything I can to push this as far as it can be pushed. I must have your help. Give me three years, please. I believe we’ll succeed admirably.”
He continued by adding, “I gave it some thought. Those were undoubtedly my greatest choices. They weren’t planning on giving me a show of my own or anything like at the time. After giving it some thought, I decided to proceed. We reached No. 1 a month later and have maintained that position ever since.”
How Did Skip Bayless Respond To Stephen A Smith’s Statement?
After the episode, Stephen A’s comment nearly set Bayless off, and he responded by saying, “In comparison to my actual brother, he has been more like a brother to me. I adore the man, and I will always love him, regardless of what occurs in the future.”
“Brothers do fight, though. We’ve fought before, and perhaps we’re preparing to do it once more. All I can say with certainty at this moment is that Stephen A. Smith said something on JJ Redick’s podcasts last week that completely caught me off guard, deeply hurt me, and eventually led to my irrational anger and the irrationality of my wife Ernestine.”
After the two well-known commentators move back and forth from one another, the debate starts. Skip said in his reply, “How can you save and develop a show that was already as huge a billion-to-one success story as ESPN has ever seen? Stephen A. was advising him to save and then make “First Take.” When Stephen A. joined me in 2012, the ratings and the earnings were absurdly high.”
“And I had gone as far as I could with “First Take”? Seriously? I had only barely begun. In 2011, the rocket had just taken off. How could you, Stephen A?”
The Cold Pizza, formerly hosted by Jay Crawford and Dana Johnson and broadcast from Studio E at ESPN, was replaced by the sports talk show First Take. To boost its ratings, the show underwent a significant format modification in August 2011.
At that point, Skip’s contribution to the show dramatically increased by centering the argument itself. In the first three months of 2012 compared to 2011, the First Take’s ratings rose by 58 percent. Additionally, Bayless joined the program permanently the following month on April 30, 2012, and Stephen A. began appearing five days a week as a regular guest contributor.
Stephen A Smith Tweets Towards Skip Bayless Response
The tension between Stephen and Skip increased as a result of Skip replying to the podcast and Smith clarifying the situation on Twitter while attempting to reconnect with his ex-friend. He declared, “I lied about absolutely nothing. This is merely a misunderstanding, nothing more. Skip Bayless made First Take, as I’ve said MANY times. For years, he carried it on his back. He also needed me because he had been carrying the show on his back for years when he asked me to appear. He required a long-term host. He asked and picked ME.”
“I’ve benefited from my achievement as a result of HIS choice. I become what I am at ESPN as a result of him. My brother is Skip Bayless! I will always appreciate him and I will always love him. I can thank HIM no matter how high I go in my ascent. What I was informed is what I’ve said regarding First Take at this time.”
“I don’t think that was intended to belittle my brother. Never on purpose would I do that. The only sad thing about that part is that he is unaware of it, despite my repeated comments over the years about how much I value him. Verify the file. I’ll discuss the remaining issues in private with my brother Skip Bayless. Please excuse me at this time; I have to finish covering the NBA Finals.”
Furthermore, he had previously described his friendship with Skip as unique and difficult to replicate. He specifically mentioned his former ESPN companion, who departed the program in 2016 to work for Fox Sports, saying, “I mean no disrespect to anybody, but that’s my brother.”
Smith continued, “Skip Bayless and I are close, but in a very unique and unconventional way. Never will you see us hanging around together. We might eat at a restaurant. Diet Mountain Dew is his idea of vice. That man is a devoted Christian named Skip Bayless. Trying to be. We are really different, but for an argument, that’s my man, I’ll tell you.”
Smith was said to have trouble adjusting to his co-host Max Kellerman when his show pal quit the show. He was forthright and honest about his predicament, saying, “It was difficult. It’s still difficult. With all due respect to Max, whom I actually like, I say that. You’ll never meet a better person than Max. He is a genuinely decent person and a genius. He has a logical approach to everything.”
“The only distinction between someone like him and people like him and various others can be found here. Because of his personality, Max honestly thinks this is how he feels. Moreover, if you don’t comprehend. You need persuading because you don’t understand, I’m afraid. You’re not getting it. Because it is impossible that you would disagree with me. Max is that. Skip, and whether you concur with me or not is irrelevant to me.”
Although Stephen did adjust at the time, he did not appear to find Bayless to be the chatting buddy on the show. There may have been other disputes between these two, but none of them seem to be as urgent as the current conflict.
Are Stephen A Smith And Skip Bayless Still Friends?
Friends or rivalry! For many years, Stephen A Smith And Skip Bayless acted more like brothers. Additionally, Stephen plans to resolve the issue behind closed doors, and they have already taken action to terminate the beef. Regardless of the circumstances, Smith’s efforts to clarify the situation, chill the beef, and maintain their friendship may help the argument between these two well-known individuals soon get resolved in public as well.
After separating, they continued to be fierce rivals for their own sports show. And throughout all of these occasions, their friendship has never before taken the dramatic turn it has now, nor have they ever reached the point where they would consider reconciling.
Skip, however, has updated his show’s positive news, “This past Sunday, we did manage to get together. Stephen A. was in Los Angeles. He came over, and we talked while sitting by the pool. For a long, it wasn’t the smoothest conversation, but we eventually got everything worked out. We overcame it, and we have experienced so much together. We’re still here. We’re now good to go. Now all is well.”