After an infamous run with FS1’s “Undisputed,” Shannon Sharpe took his talents to ESPN as the new part-time co-host of “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith. While Sharpe’s money-green-suited first episode was very entertaining, it did not go off without a hitch.
One of the first topics discussed on the show was that of the first game of the 2023-24 NFL season between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions.
The panel questioned if the Super Bowl Champions could beat Detroit, with their star defensive tackle Chris Jones holding out for a new contract. “First Take” moderator Molly Qerim asked Sharpe, “Is KC on upset alert if they don’t get Jones back?”
Looking across the table at his new co-host, Sharpe replied, “Yes, because if you think about it, the Lions were picked to win that division, Skip,” before realizing his mistake and fumbling the rest of his words.
Smith was very forgiving and consoled his new partner saying, “It’s all right. It’s all right.” The trio continued with the conversation as if nothing had happened until Sharpe did it again.
After coming back from commercial break, Sharpe started again, saying, “You know what, Skip…”
In the clip,the Hall of Famer looks defeated, shaking his head and slamming his fist on the table. Smith forgave him again, saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay,” to which Sharpe followed up by saying, “It’s been seven years.” Fans dogpiled onto Sharpe’s two-fumble debut.
“Skip is loving this!”
“Skip A. Smith.”
“Old habits die hard.”
“He misses his best friend.”
Sharpe is justified in his slip-ups though; he had spent almost seven years straight with his former co-host Skip Bayless. During his tenure on “Undisputed,” you could tune in on any weekday and hear the three-time Super Bowl champion yell “SKIP!” at the top of his lungs during heated arguments about sports, pop culture, and other topics.
His tenure with Bayless is something he and his new co-host Smith have in common. The two discussed their shared experiences on a recent episode of Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay.” The sports analysts gave credit to Bayless for their introduction to both sports shows.
“There are highs and lows that come with him. He knows that. There are highs and lows that come with me. There are highs and lows that come with you and everybody,” said Smith.
“I’m a man first, and it’s about a core decency of appreciation. The reality is that no matter how problematic, and he can be problematic at times. No matter how problematic he can be the reality is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if he didn’t give me that opportunity on ‘First Take.'”
Shannon agreed that there were hard times with Bayless, but he added, “I cannot let six months ruin six-and-a-half good years.” Following Sharpe’s exit from the revamped show, “Undisputed,” rapper Lil Wayne was announced as a weekly co-host.
Smith joined “First Take” in 2012 as a permanent host after appearing as a guest contributor.