Wednesday was the end of an era at ESPN. Max Kellerman made his final appearance on the morning debate show, First Take.
“All things come to an end, and this is the end to my run on ‘First Take,'” Kellerman said to close out Wednesday’s show.
ESPN officially announced that Kellerman would depart First Take last week after reports revealed that the network was headed in that direction earlier in August. There was reportedly no bad blood between the 48-year-old and co-host Stephen. A Smith, but the latter reportedly wanted a more heated “debate challenger", per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
“Stephen A. [Smith] had a lot of say in who was going to be his partner after Skip [Bayless] left the show. I was honored to have been chosen and wouldn’t trade the last five years for anything," Kellerman said on Wednesday. "I appreciated it through the years... This is an enormous platform and important issues were brought up through the years that I got to, and we got to, opine about and use the platform to say things that we felt were important... I'll always cherish it."
Smith, who was unable to be in the studio on Wednesday, called in to wish his co-host the best moving forward. Although he reportedly played a role in Kellerman's departure, Smith was gracious and heartfelt when he wished his colleague well in the future.
“All I wanted to do was call in and thank Max for the five years. Originally, when we talked, it was supposed to be a three-year run and the next thing you know, it's a five-year run and we've been number one every single year. You had an awful lot to do with that. I wanted to thank you for your contribution to the show," Smith said. "I wanted to call you and wish you nothing but the best moving forward. You’re going to be doing big things like you’re always doing big things.”
Smith will now lead First Take by himself as the show will likely feature rotating guest co-hosts to replace Kellerman.
Smith wasn't the only member of the show to wish Kellerman the best with a touching message. Molly Qerim Rose, the host of First Take, also wrote a brief but heartfelt note to her colleague. "Max, I’ve had a blast sitting next to you the last 5 years. Lots of travels and great memories. Congrats on the new shows. Grateful I’ve met a friend for life," Qerim Rose
— Molly Qerim Rose (@MollyQerim) September 1, 2021
">wrote on Twitter.
A handful of other media member celebrated Kellerman's run on the show on Wednesday and wished him the best in his future endeavors.
Sports fans won't have to wait long to hear from Kellerman again at ESPN. The 48-year-old host is set to replace Zubin Mehenti on morning radio alongside former NFL superstar Keyshawn Johnson and basketball analyst Jay Williams. He will also continue his duties as host of The Max Kellerman Show on ESPN radio.
Nevertheless, it will be strange to see a First Take without Kellerman moving forward. For the last five years, the debates between him and Smith gave the sports world some very memorable moments.
Hopefully, we'll get to see the two side-by-side again one day.