Stephen A. Smith welcomes Shannon Sharpe to ESPN’s First Take by teasing the former FS1 analyst ahead of September 4 start: ‘You’re not used to getting beat down’
ESPN’s Stephen A Smith made a highly-anticipated announcement on ‘First Take’ this morning when he officially confirmed Shannon Sharpe’s addition to the show.
The news recently broke that Sharpe was planning to join First Take after his well-publicized split with Fox and Skip Bayless, along with the fact he intended to begin making appearances before the start of the NFL season on September 7.
‘Mr. Shannon Sharpe will be joining the crew,’ Smith said on Thursday. ‘He will be joining First Take. It is official. Shannon Sharpe is coming to First Take, he will debut Monday, September 4. He will be on here every Monday and Tuesday with yours truly.’
‘It is official, I just learned it 60 seconds ago, literally 60 seconds ago,’ Smith added. ‘It is official, Shannon Sharpe is coming to First Take and he debuts September 4.’
Following the announcement, fans on social media began creating mockups of Smith and Sharpe’s heads on the famous picture of the behind the back alley-oop between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Stephen A Smith announced that Shannon Sharpe will officially be joining ESPN’s ‘First Take’
Sharpe has become one of the most popular sports personalities on TV in his post-NFL career
Sharpe previously spent seven years with Skip Bayless on Fox Sports’ ‘Undisputed’ show
ESPN also announced the move in a press release on Thursday morning.
‘First Take is the destination for morning sports debate year-round, and now with Shannon joining the signature show’s fall guest lineup opposite Stephen A. and Molly, fans will have even more to look forward to this NFL and college football season,’ ESPN head of event & studio production said in the release.
Sharpe was also quoted in the release as he said: ‘I’m excited to announce this fall I’ll take my on air talents to ESPN’s First Take and debate my friend Stephen A. Smith. We’re both graduates of HBCU’s, very opinionated and animated. GET YOUR POPCORN READY.’
Smith also took a second during his on-air announcement to talk some smack to his soon-to-be co-host.
‘Condolences in advance,’ Smith warned Sharpe about joining First Take. ‘You’re not used to getting beat down. He’s the modern-day Black Hulk. He’s not used to getting beat down…welcome to the beatdown, it’s coming.’
Sharpe is also set to team up with Colin Cowherd and bring his ‘Club Shay Shay’ podcast to The Volume.
Meanwhile, Bayless recently announced Keyshawn Johnson as the newest addition to ‘Undisputed’ – despite multiple reports claiming the former NFL wide receiver is still under contract with ESPN.
Johnson was previously announced as part of the long list of high-profile talent that was being laid off as part of ESPN’s massive budget cuts, yet it was first reported by the New York Post that he remains in a contract with the network.
And as expected, the structuring of Johnson’s media contract forbids him to work with another network unless a form of buyout agreement is reached.
Before the announcement of his lay off, the former Jets and Buccaneers star was in only the second year of a five-year contract worth around $18million.
Along with Johnson – assuming he is eventually let out of his ESPN deal – several other household names including disgraced-ESPN employee Rachel Nichols, NFL legend Michal Irvin, Amazon Prime’s Richard Sherman and rap legend Lil Wayne have all been tipped to join Bayless on the show.