Missed this the other day, but it’s still worth sharing.

As you know, Max Kellerman is being booted from First Take. He’s going to replace Zubin Mehenti on ESPN morning radio and do a new show in the afternoon.

But according to Andrew Marchand at The New York Post, it was co-host Stephen A Smith who wanted Kellerman outta there:

Since he has become a giant in the industry, his moves reverberate. Smith has wanted Kellerman off “First Take” for years. Though it wasn’t personal, according to sources, Kellerman has a “smartest guy in the room” attitude, and Smith wanted more of a debating challenger. And ultimately, he wanted it to be him versus the world.

Whatever you think of the hot-take shows, they live on sparks, and Smith and Kellerman never had the flair of Smith and Skip Bayless. Smith has told everyone who needs to know, including Kellerman, that it didn’t work well enough, according to sources. After Smith’s wishes were executed, a fault line from Bristol to New York followed.

Didn’t work well enough? Maybe. I actually thought Kellerman filled the role pretty well. Those Stephen A/Max Kellerman/Will Cain shows were good. It was bullshit debate television, but it was good.

My takeaway from all of this is that Stephen A is flexing. He knows he’s a superstar, and he’s kind of doing what my two year old is doing right now. She’s testing her boundaries, and pushing the limits. She thinks she can get away with more and more and has the confidence to give it a try. She’s assertive and bold, like Stephen A, who knows he’s a Tier-1 talent on ESPN.

In a way, you have to give him credit for that. It takes a lot of influence to get your co-host booted from a show. It would be like Joe DeCamara saying to WIP, “hey it’s either me or Jon Ritchie,” and then they boot Ritchie while paying Joe $12 million a year.

It’s Stephen A’s world, and we’re all just living in it.

BTW, Max Kellerman did a rap video back in the day. It’s awesome. It actually “slaps,” as the kids like to say. He’s like the fourth member of House of Pain: